Broward News

John Goodman Jury Selection Happening in Tampa; Lawyers on Both Sides Surprised by This News

Polo mogul John Goodman's fate continues taking detours and u-turns with the news that the jury selection in his DUI manslaughter retrial will take place in Tampa, not Palm Beach County.

The news broke over the weekend when Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel Menendez told the Tampa Tribune that jury selection would begin October 6 in Tampa.

Meanwhile, the Sun Sentinel reports that lawyers from both sides expressed surprise to learn of these changes.

Weirder still, Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath has a motion scheduled for September 11 about the change of city for jury selection, but WPBF 25 News in West Palm Beach says the decision has already been made.

See also: John Goodman's Attorneys Want Trial Moved Out of Palm Beach County

Goodman had been sentenced to 16 years in prison after he got drunk, got in his car and drove while intoxicated more than twice the legal limit, ran a stop sign, and then killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson when he crashed into him in 2010.

In May 2013, Goodman's lawyers successfully got courts to grant him a retrial after it was learned one of the jurors apparently wrote a self-published book titled Will She Kiss Me or Kill Me? in which he wrote that his wife was once busted for DUI.

The juror, Dennis DeMartin, 69, failed during jury selection to disclose that information.

According to a motion filed by the attorneys, DeMartin specifically said he knew no one in his family who had been arrested for any reason.

So, a retrial was set.

The jury selection moving from West Palm Beach to Tampa was apparently decided by Judge Colbath via emails.

According to WPBF, who obtained the emails, Colbath wrote the Florida Supreme Court implying that the decision had already been made:

"due to the venue change for jury selection only in State v. John B. Goodman ... I am requesting to be appointed temporarily as a Circuit Court Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit to hear and conduct jury selection proceedings in this matter."

In another email, Palm Beach County Assistant Court Administrator Debra Oats wrote to a court administrator in Tampa:

"Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath does plan to start on Oct. 6 and anticipates the jury selection to last 2-3 days. As previously stated, he plans on calling up 100 jurors in the morning and 100 in the afternoon."

But the State Attorney's Office and Goodman's defense team say this is all news to them.

Still, even before all this court officials had already "made a determination that jury selection was impractical" in West Palm Beach."

Moreover, Goodman's defense team had rallied to have the retrial moved out of West Palm Beach over fears that the high-profile nature of the case wouldn't allow him to get an impartial jury.

Goodman's defense team had said they had no preference where the retrial should take place.

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