In 2010 John Goodman, founder of International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, was convicted of the DUI manslaughter of a University of Central Florida student named Scott Patrick Wilson. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison upon conviction, but has filed to have his case appealed based on the evidence of his blood alcohol level.
Goodman’s attorneys argue that Florida’s regulations surrounding the collection and analyzation of blood samples for drivers suspected of drunk driving aren’t clear enough. The attorneys’ argument that the matter is of “great public importance,” was compelling enough to encourage the Florida Supreme Court to review the case.
On the night of the accident, officers took a blood sample from Goodman three hours after the incident occurred. His blood alcohol level was found to be more than two times the legal limit at 0.177, a piece of evidence that prosecutors relied heavily upon during the trial. Goodman maintains that the Bentley he was driving malfunctioned and that he only started drinking after the accident to help alleviate the pain from his injuries. He is adamant that the alcohol was taken from a polo player’s barn office.
However, one of the main questions in play surrounds the regulation of proper blood draw procedures. The attorneys question these regulations because if the procedure is not properly followed, it is possible for the blood to clot, which would lead to results indicating a higher blood alcohol level.
This is not the first time this year that the Florida Supreme Court has taken on the issue of protecting the rights of individuals accused of drunk driving. In fact, the blood alcohol matter has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that, “being submitted to a blood test for alcohol abuse is unconstitutional while breath-tests without probable cause remain legal.”
Criminal defense attorneys will likely be watching the ruling from Goodman’s appeal request closely because it will most certainly have major implications on how DUI cases are prosecuted and defended in Florida. If you are charged with a DUI, a proficient criminal defense attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected.
Freeman, M. (2016, October 17). Florida Supreme Court takes on polo mogul’s blood battle. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-john-goodman-blood-supreme-court-20161017-story.html