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John Goodman Wants to Go Back to House Arrest While He Awaits Appeal of Conviction

Wellington Polo magnate John Goodman was sentenced to 16 years in prison (again) last Friday but was denied bond by Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath.

This, Goodman's attorneys are now saying, is "unreasonable and an abuse of discretion," according to a motion filed over the weekend. The motion was filed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal on Sunday, asking the court to review Colbath's decision not to grant bond and instead to allow Goodman to stay under house arrest while they appeal the conviction.

During sentencing on Friday, Colbath called Goodman a flight risk, a charge his attorneys refute.

See also: John Goodman Again Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison

Colbath added that Goodman is a flight risk because he's wealthy and has shown a "propensity to flee" -- a reference to Goodman leaving the scene of the accident after he struck victim Scott Wilson's car in 2010.

Days leading up to the sentencing, Goodman's attorney's argued that their client was broke and therefore posed no threat to flee. They then requested a $4 million cash bond, GPS monitoring, and house arrest.

But Colbath rejected those claims, agreeing with the prosecution that the family business was sold in 2014 for $1.4 billion. Colbath wrote that Goodman essentially has "the financial means to flee to a country without extradition and to live a very comfortable lifestyle for the rest of his days."

But Goodman's attorneys argue that there is no evidence that he intends to flee and cite Goodman's attendance record when called to court as well as his strong ties to the community.

"So people with access to wealth are not entitled to bond on appeal by the fact of their access to wealth?" wrote Good-Earnest and Grant, via the Sun Sentinel. "This finding defies reason and shows why the court's findings have to be based on competent substantial evidence of intent to flee and not unsupported speculation.

"Otherwise, no appellant with money could ever qualify for bond on appeal," the attorneys added.

They also called Colbath's order "arbitrary and capricious and a complete abuse of discretion."

Goodman did run into an incident with his ankle monitor while under previous house arrest. In October 2012, Colbath had Goodman's bond temporarily revoked based of evidence presented by prosecutors that Goodman had broken the monitor. Goodman's lawyers at the time claimed the device broke accidentally. But deputies found that Goodman had smashed it with the side of a handheld mirror while in the shower.

In August 2013, not long after he was awarded a retrial, Goodman was allowed to travel to Texas to visit his mother, who was on her deathbed. Goodman was escorted by deputies.

As part of his conviction, Goodman is being given credit for time served. He has served a total of 152 days in jail.

Goodman was originally sentenced to 16 years in prison two years ago after he got drunk, got in his car, drove while intoxicated, ran a stop sign, then killed Wilson when he crashed into him in 2010.

At the time of the accident, Goodman's blood-alcohol level was recorded at .177, more than twice the legal limit.

That sentence was thrown out and a retrial ordered after juror misconduct was discovered.

His attorneys also wanted to move the retrial out of Palm Beach, fearing the media attention might taint the jury. The retrial was held in Palm Beach anyway, with a jury that was bussed in from Tampa.

On October 28, the six-member jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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