John Goodman, founder of Wellington polo club, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for his 2014 DUI manslaughter conviction. On Thursday, the multimillionaire learned that a Florida Supreme Court will not allow his challenge over Florida’s rules for blood evidence in the case.
The six justices who reviewed the arguments agreed unanimously that state rules ensure blood samples are responsibly collected and screened before the evidence is introduced in criminal cases. One member, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, recused himself from the case.
Goodman’s challenge prompted lawyers for other DUI defendants in Florida to pay close attention to the Supreme Court. If he had prevailed, it could have affected other pending or past cases involving blood samples.
Court records indicate that Goodman had been drinking at three Wellington bars and his blood-alcohol content measured 0.177 – more than twice the 0.08 legal limit to drive – via the blood sample collected three hours after the accident. Small amounts of hydrocodone Goodman was taking for back pain, were also detected.
Goodman will now wait to see if the Supreme Court will consider his pending appeal regarding his failure to render aid in the DUI manslaughter conviction.
His Bently convertible plowed into Wilson’s Hyundai Sonata during the Wellington crash. Wilson’s car was knocked into a canal, where the engineering graduate from the University of Central Florida drowned.
Court records state that following the accident, Goodman said he chugged alcohol while looking for a phone to call 911. He said he discovered liquor in a “man cave,” a polo player’s barn office with a bar, and drank it to soothe the pain of his injuries.
Goodman’s attorneys argued that his Bentley malfunctioned, which could have caused or contributed to the tragic crash.
Below is an previous article regarding this case.
July 27, 2017
Wellington Polo Club Mogul John Goodman loses Drunk Driving, Wrongful Death conviction Appeal
John Goodman, Wellington Polo Club owner, lost his bid for a 3rd trial pertaining to his 2010 drunk driving/manslaughter case.
Goodman has twice been convicted of DUI manslaughter with failure to render aid in the 2010 auto crash that killed recent college graduate Scott Patrick Wilson, 23.
Now 53, Goodman is serving a 16-year prison sentence. The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected Goodman’s bid for appeal of his 2014 retrial conviction.
Wilson’s parents were relieved to hear the news. His father’s attorney, Scott Smith spoke,
“ALTHOUGH IT WAS A LONG AND HARD ROAD FOR SCOTT’S PARENTS, JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED. MAY WE ALL NEVER FORGET SCOTT PATRICK WILSON AND HOW HE DIED IN SUCH A SENSELESS WAY. HIS VAST AND PROMISING FUTURE WAS CUT SHORT IN A INSTANT IN THIS INCREDIBLY PREVENTABLE TRAGEDY.”
The highly publicized case involving the Polo Club mogul has garnered national attention. Remarkably, there is still a shred of hope for Goodman. The Florida Supreme Court is contemplating a separate appeal regarding blood evidence from the trial.
Arguments are scheduled to begin on August 30.
Even if the blood evidence is somehow overturned, the courts can not reject the charges related to Goodman failing to render aid to the victim of the crash.
Goodman, who was driving a $250,000 Bentley, slammed into Wilson’s Hyundai at the intersection of 120th Avenue and Lake Worth Road in Wellington, then stumbled away from the scene and “decided to find a phone” while Scott Wilson drowned in a Wellington canal.
Heir to a Texas heating and air-conditioning fortune, Goodman testified that had he known Wilson’s car was in the canal he “would have gone in to help” and never left the scene.
While Goodman’s legal team suggested that their client needed to know that Wilson was injured, the appeals court judges wrote that the law requires finding only that a defendant knew or should have known a crash occurred, not that someone got hurt or died as a result.
Currently, Goodman is being held in the Wakulla Correctional Institution in north Florida. His scheduled release date is in 2029.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.