Polo Club Founder Gets August Hearing for Crash RetrialSusannah Nesmith
John Goodman, the Florida polo tycoon whose conviction in the death of a 23-year-old man whose car he slammed into with his Bentley was vacated, is set to appear in court for an Aug. 29 hearing.
Goodman, 49, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in May 2012 following his conviction on charges of driving under the influence-manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the February 2010 death of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson.
Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Colbath last week agreed to postpone a pre-trial hearing set for yesterday, according to the online docket. No reason was given on the docket for the rescheduling. Colbath, who presided over Goodman’s trial, vacated the conviction on May 3 and ordered a new trial based on juror misconduct, according to court records.
One of the jurors, Dennis DeMartin, failed to disclose that his ex-wife received a DUI while they were married, according to court records. DeMartin later self-published an e-book in which he wrote about the DUI and the end of his marriage.
“The undisclosed information was relevant and material to jury service in this case,” Colbath wrote in his order vacating the conviction.
Goodman founded the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, in western Palm Beach County. During his 2012 trial, prosecutors said Goodman ran a stop sign in his convertible Bentley, striking Wilson’s car, which careened into a roadside canal. Prosecutors said Goodman then walked home and waited an hour before calling 911.
Goodman’s attorney, Roy Black, argued during the trial that the Bentley malfunctioned, causing him to run the stop sign, and that he got drunk after the accident in a horse barn. Prosecutors, however, presented evidence that he was in a bar before the accident.
Black withdrew from the case after the conviction was vacated. Goodman’s current attorney, Doug Duncan, declined to comment on the case. Scott Smith, the attorney for Wilson’s parents, didn’t return a call seeking comment. DeMartin couldn’t be reached for comment.
Goodman had adopted his girlfriend, and during court proceedings, prosecutors had asked that they be notified if Goodman’s girlfriend gained access to a trust that was set up for his children. The adoption was thrown out in March by a Florida appeals court, which ruled it was a “fraud on the court.”
The case is State of Florida v. Goodman, 10-cf-5829, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (West Palm Beach.)