John Goodman Sentencing Liveblog: BREAKING -- 16-Year Sentence for Goodman | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


John Goodman Sentencing Liveblog: BREAKING -- 16-Year Sentence for Goodman

Note, 4:30 p.m: This liveblog is over. More updates to come in separate blog posts; check out The Pulp for more soon. And thanks for sticking with us this whole time.)

Hello, crime-gawkers -- here's where we'll be liveblogging the 2 p.m. hearing in the John Goodman murder trial. For those of you who don't know what's going on, check out our primer on the case, in which Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter in March for the death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson in 2010.

He was supposed to be sentenced last month, but every time somebody asks a juror a question they give a ridiculous answer: When Judge Jeffrey Colbath asked one juror if he thought Goodman was actually guilty, for example, the juror said no.

And we can't forget about Mensa-level supergenius juror Dennis DeMartin, who self-published a (really) short book about the trial and admitted that he decided Goodman wasn't fit to drive the night of the murder after DeMartin went home and did a drinking experiment in which he drank three vodka-tonics and got lost in his neighborhood.

4:27 -- Taking a 5-minute break. Moving on to discuss whether Goodman will be allowed to go free for the appeals process.

4:23 -- Goodman sentenced to 16 years in prison, a $10,000 fine plus court costs. He's required to serve a minimum of four years. He gets credit for time served (51 days). Goodman's driver's license is permanently revoked.

4:22 -- Colbath calls Goodman's testimony "a complete contrivance... a vain attempt to create a story and weave it in and out of the scenes of the state's case."

4:18 -- Colbath says Goodman was a "model citizen," says the sentences "won't preclude him from being philanthropic."

Colbath says he gave a lot of consideration to Goodman being "over double the legal limit." Says "this wasn't even close... Mr. Goodman was extremely intoxicated."

Says he also considered that Goodman was speeding, running a stop sign, and driving recklessly. Also says he heavily considered that Goodman left the scene.

"His conduct from the moment the crash happened ... was to save himself," Colbath said. "He had an opportunity to try to save Mr. Wilson... He knew he pushed that car in the canal... And he left."

Also considered Goodman's age -- says it's different for cases with teenagers because "their brain's not quite right... A man Mr. Goodman's age knew right from wrong."

4:17 -- Colbath still speaking. Goodman looking quite uncomfortable.

4:09 -- Colbath speaks.

"Scott Wilson's loss was senseless. His death was senseless," Colbath said. "My sentence isn't going to fix anything."

Colbath says he intends to "punish intentional decisions to drive, punish intentional decisions to drink." Agrees with the jury's rejection of the barn drink defense. "He was drunk way beyond the amount of drinks" that the defense claims.

Colbath says he also wants deterrence. "I'm not saying don't drink, I'm just saying don't drink and drive... Mr. Goodman decided to drive when he was too drunk."

He also wants "specific deterrence," which is deterring individual criminals from committing the crime again.

Also mentions rehabilitation, restitution, and retribution, but says "retribution in these settings does not warrant increasing punishment beyond what I feel is appropriate" -- hinting at not getting the maximum?

4:08 -- Hm. Black is standing back up, now the two of them are bickering over the details of an unrelated case.

4:05 -- Black sits down. Roberts briefly responds to the cases Black brought up. Almost done.

4:02 -- Black now talking about potential head injuries, objections he had to jury instructions, and intent. He asks for "The lowest reasonable sentence... Is there something that causes a reason to increase the severity of that sentence?" Black says Goodman not only "led an unblemished life, he led a life of helping other people."

4:00 -- "So that's the kind of person that John Goodman is," Black says. He says the minimum is 11.5 years, and there isn't any evidence to add 8.5 years to that when Goodman is "someone who has only done good in his life."

3:57 -- Black is now just reading the names of people who sent letters of support, mostly from charities.

3:53 -- Reading a letter from a woman who lives on an Indian reservation in South Dakota who doesn't know Goodman, but Black says "she knows so many people who know him" and that she writes, "I can't help sharing what a good man this man is." Approaching 20 minutes of statements now. He keeps taking out letters.

3:50 -- "I'm proud to be a lawyer," Black says, and adds his aggressive advocacy in the courtroom should not be held against Goodman. Now he's citing more case law.

3:47 -- Black points out that Goodman has been paying premiums on a $50 million insurance policy for years. Wilson's parents got $23 million each in a settlement.

3:44 -- Black says the prosecution didn't present a reasonable plea deal and is now trying to use it against Goodman that he took the case to trial.

3:40 -- Black says a woman got 10 years' probation for DUI manslaughter in Colbath's court last month. To be fair, that woman was on prescription medication and needed a liver transplant.

3:38 -- Black says everyone hopes that the good we have done "can in some way mitigate the bad that we have done."

Black just quoted Audrey Hepburn saying "Never throw anyone out." Added that the minimum sentence is "adequate."

3:35 -- Roy Black up now. Says Goodman doesn't deserve 20 years.

"The guidelines start at 11.5 years," he says. "John Goodman is a human being" who "lived an exemplary life" before the accident.

3:30 -- Roberts says being sorry is not enough. "A life is gone. A young man who had his entire life in front of him was taken by a drunk."

"He may be a generous man... But he was not generous that night. He was a coward." Roberts appears to be getting choked up. "I pray to god that Scott Wilson was unconscious."

She asks Goodman get 20 years in prison.

3:30 -- Ellen Roberts makes final argument: "This wasn't an accident. He intended to drive. He intended to drink. He didn't intend to kill Scott Wilson," she said, but said that it doesn't matter. "Parents are not supposed to bury their kids... All he had to do was stay there, flag down a car."

3:28 -- GOODMAN TAKES THE PODIUM. Said he wanted to reach out from day one to the Wilsons to "cry with them," that he carries "Scott Patrick Wilson" with him every day.

"I don't know what else to say, I'm just really, really, my heart goes out to the family," he says, and sits down.

3:27 -- Goodman's 84-year-old mother is in the courtroom and planned to make a statement, but Black now says she won't be able to.

3:26 -- Abell says Goodman "shows great care and interest for how other people are doing" and that Goodman would continue to pay ex-employees until they could find another job. 

"He would never leave a young man drowning in a ditch if he know he was there."

3:22 -- Betsy Abell testifying for Goodman. She's his sister. Says Goodman takes good care of their mother.

3:18 --
Hutton Goodman, John Goodman's nephew, up next. Says Goodman is "selfless," tells a story of when he was 6 and his dad fell down the steps. Says John Goodman showed up to take Hutton to the rodeo because his dad couldn't take him. Says "my Uncle John" is not a "monster."

"The death of Scott Wilson has destroyed my uncle," Hutton Goodman said. "He was, is, and will continue to be a broken man."

Hutton said John told him after the accident, "Hutton, he was your age, it could have been you."

Hutton said "He poses absolutely no threat to the community," and that a long sentence "seems like vengence not justice... My Uncle John could do so much good."

3:16 -- Greg Goodman appears to have just made reference to a mean online comment. Says John Goodman would "never" have left Wilson in that car if he'd known Wilson was in the canal.

"John is remorseful," he said, adding that letting Goodman have a lifetime of "community service" would be better for everyone.

3:14 -- Greg Goodman, John Goodman's older brother, takes the podium. Says Goodman "has wanted to reach out from the Wilsons from day one." Complains that the media does not talk about the John Goodman that his family and friends know, but a "fictitious character that they have made up."

3:13 -- Wilson's mother just blew her nose into the microphone and now I'm deaf.

3:10 -- Lily Wilson, Scott Wilson's mother, is holding back tears and just took the podium. She pointed out that Sunday is Mother's Day, and is now going into a letter. It's slow going.

3:09 -- Still reading the letter, which keeps repeating that Goodman didn't do anything to help.

3:00 -- Another man reading a letter from Scott Wilson's father. He says Goodman never tried to help, never tried to get Wilson's "oxygen-starved" body out of his car because Goodman was "interested more in saving his own skin." Wilson's father is partially obscured by a young man with gigantic hair.

2:56 -- Camera cuts to Wilson's father, in tears in the back of the courtroom. Seaman describes how Wilson's father had to read the coronor's report detailing how Wilson drowned at the bottom of a canal, "a canal that John Goodman left him in to die... He ran."

2:52 -- Seamen is telling the story of the Wilson family frantically looking for their son and the experience of hearing that he was dead.

2:50 -- Moving on to sentencing. Allen Seamen, an uninvolved lawyer, said the Wilsons are "dear and treasured friends of mine" and he'll be speaking for them today.

2:46 -- "Colbath says DeMartin's actions were misconduct but is not "material" and "did not go into the jury room." Goodman looks mad, but Black is now the most smug-looking person this side of Johnny Depp. He just got some nifty grounds for appeal. Motion for a new trial denied.

2:46 -- They're back in.

2:35 -- Colbath adjourns for 10 minutes.

2:33 -- Black citing case law where even the innocuous introduction of outside evidence was enough to step on a case. He mentions a case where a juror looked through binoculars to see if it was conceivably possible . The verdict was thrown out, Black says, "even though looking through binoculars is something people do all the time."

"I think this is as clear as it gets, your honor," he said.

2:28 -- Colbath asks DeMartin if he used any kind of hyperbole in the book. Black objects for "editorializing." Black is overruled.

DeMartin says it's true, but that "I didn't take the drinks to find out if he was guilty or not."

Colbath out of nowhere asks if DeMartin had any hydrocodone in his system during the experiment. DeMartin says "I don't even know why hydrocodone is." Seems like that drug was a big part of the trial. Shouldn't DeMartin at least know about it?

2:26 -- DeMartin is in the courtroom.

2:23 -- We're arguing semantics now. Black says, when asked, that it would be OK if jurors discussed how they felt after several drinks, but that it's different because DeMartin did it with intent.

Black: "To see what his mind would be like to determine whether or not Mr Goodman would have been impaired... He wasn't doing it socially... He wasn't doing it because that's what he normally does."

2:20 -- Prosecution says DeMartin's experiment was "foolish and stupid," but points out that if he'd had three drinks just for fun, and decided he couldn't drive, that wouldn't be a violation. 

"Life experiences are allowed," prosecution says, adding that having a few drinks after a trial was a normal thing to do and not an obvious experiment like "lighting mattress stuffing on fire."

2:18 -- Prosecutor made reference to "Goodman's self-reported number of drinks" that night; camera cut to Goodman, who sneered and repeated "self-reported" to himself.

2:16 -- Black: "His recreation was used to debunk our defense."

2:12 -- Colbath points out DeMartin indicated in the last interview that he was thinking "not guilty" when deliberations started, after the experiment.

Black says it doesn't matter how much the experiment influence the verdict; it's enough that "this was done outside of court... and it was material in an issue in the case."

2:09 -- Black says DeMartin's experimental conclusions are "directly in conflict with the testimony in this case."

Black read several excerpts from the book that made DeMartin look baaad. Of DeMartin's reliance on impermissible experiments in his decision, Black says, "I don't know how you could get more adamant than that."

2:04 -- Goodman's lawyer Roy Black calls DeMartin's publishing a book before sentencing "a first in jurisprudence." He also says Goodman's Sixth Amendment rights were violated because Goodman and his counsel didn't have a chance to rebut the results of the experiment.

Roy Black says to Colbath that the experiment "directly contradicted your jury instruction" not to do any outside research.

"This so called experiment went right to the heart of the case," he said.

2:02 -- Audio just turned on; Colbath just entered. Says first order of business will be to interview DeMartin. This is the bit that could get Goodman's conviction thrown out.

1:57 -- Goodman smiling, looks relaxed standing in the courtroom door.

1:52 -- People shufflin' about, nothing cooking except a loud beeping noise on the feed.

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Rich Abdill

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