Multimillionaire John Goodman will soon return to the lap of luxury, at home beside the lush green grounds of the International Polo Club he founded in Wellington. Rather than immediately serving his 16-year prison sentence, he will win this get-out-of-jail pass after posting a $7 million bond and paying for off-duty cops to monitor him around the clock.
For a man convicted of killing a 23-year-old in a drunk driving accident, the setup hardly sounds like harsh punishment. But it's the deal Goodman struck to avoid prison while appealing his case, and it brings to mind another high-profile appeal in Palm Beach County. Dalia Dippolito, the Boynton Beach newlywed convicted last year of plotting to have her husband whacked by a hit man, is currently on house arrest after posting a $500,000 bond.
Both celebrity criminals were sentenced
and released on bond pending their appeals by Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Colbath. Both hired
stellar defense attorneys. And neither is doing anything unusual,
prosecutor Ellen Roberts told the Palm Beach Post.
"The bottom line is, if [Goodman] were Pete the plumber, he'd be back at work on Monday," Roberts said, noting that she's seen people bond out for as little as $20,000.
But were those people convicted of DUI manslaughter or solicitation to commit murder? After watching Goodman and Dippolito get convicted by juries of their peers, hearing Colbath call Dippolito "pure evil" and denounce Goodman's testimony as a "complete contrivance," it's tough to see them avoid shackles.
Goodman's appeal process could take years. While he waits, he may be bored and lonely, but he won't be counting the days surrounded by concrete and wire. Is this justice served?