John Goodman Sentencing: Case Snagged on Jury Member Being a Total Wuss

Categories: Crime
Scott Wilson.jpg
Scott Wilson
The sentencing of convicted murderer John Goodman hit a wall yesterday during courtroom interviews Judge Jeffrey Colbath conducted to look into accusations of juror misconduct.

Jurors were called in one by one and asked if jurors had said they'd made up their minds before the trial was over, if Goodman's wealth had played a part in deliberations, and if any jurors were bullying others. Almost all of them simply said "no."

But one juror, identified by Colbath as "Mr. St. John," said the opposite, saying he didn't stand behind the guilty verdict the jury returned and portraying himself as an absolute doormat who completely bailed on a debate in which a man could be sent to prison for 30 years.

Goodman was found guilty last month of numerous charges in the death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson, whom Goodman drunkenly rammed off the road in early 2010. Wilson's car capsized in a canal and while Goodman ran around not calling police; by the time he called authorities (after calling his girlfriend), Wilson had drowned. (For more on the case, check out our Goodman trial primer.)

When St. John was asked if he'd seen any indications that jurors had decided Goodman's fate before the proceedings had finished, he said, "Yes, quite a few. Comments like, 'We know he's guilty. Let's just sign the paperwork and go on.'

"I think the whole case in general, I thought that, you know, these people kind of like had their minds made up," St. John said.

When Colbath asked if St. John thought Goodman wasn't guilty, St. John said, "Yes."

Well, then, Mr. St. John, why did you sign a bunch of stuff and say he was guilty? What if nobody had called you back into the courtroom and asked you whether you totally abandoned the only job you had to do?

"I was trying to show them another side, and they got adamant with me," he said of the jurors. "I was making that decision because of the pressure that I got from them... I just felt that my voice didn't mean anything, so I kinda went with the flow."

Keep in mind that St. John says he was completely bowled over in deliberations that only lasted five hours. If he's telling the truth, then there are Peter Jackson movies that lasted longer than St. John's efforts to exonerate Goodman.

St. John then asked if it was too late to get a second look at some of the evidence. The judge told him he was excused.

Colbath told lawyers from both sides they had until Thursday at noon to file memos about relevant case law he should consider in rulings on the case and whether the verdict should stand; he said he would issue a ruling "by Friday or Monday."

Sentencing has been rescheduled for May 11 at 2 p.m., assuming there isn't intervention from a higher court before then.

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17 comments
Nat220
Nat220

This is so wrong! Have they ever heard of accidents? I hate that people can get sent to prison for being in an accident and HOW they deal with the situation.

Mr Pro Se
Mr Pro Se

Roy black is a complete incompetent attorney as far as I'm concerned !!!! Overpriced and folks if you follow most his cases he gets his clients guilty verdicts most time! Might as well go with public defenders and save alllllllllll that $$$ for the persons family to live on while that person goes off to prison!! I wouldn't want Roy black as my attorney! I'd pro se first cause I'd end up with a better outcome and for surely could not get anything worse than what Roy black would get me !! Smdh... When's people going to realize mr Roy Black isn't that good of a attorney ?!!!

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Wally
Wally

Get your facts straight before "reporting", judge limited questioning to whether jury discussed Goodmans wealth. Two jurors and a reporter approached the judge, with many instances of juror misconduct weeks ago, which the judge chose to conceal.

Jack
Jack

Seriously? Shame on you for harassing this man just for voicing his opinion. Other jurors have said he didn't agree well before this hearing and he reached out to the judge very soon after the case (possibly during to a bailiff and was ignored). Our justice system cannot work if jurors are so intimidated by press and public opinion that they feel they must deliver the verdict already served up in the court of public opinion.

gimmesamore
gimmesamore

I wonder what part of the trial convinced this idiot Goodman was not guilty.  Probably a load of bills that showed on this doorstep from an anonymous source.  What a putz.  Now Goodman will get another trial, waste more time and tax payer money, only to get convicted a second time.  Ain't justice grand..... FOR THE RICH.

Rich Abdill
Rich Abdill

What facts are wrong here, Wally? You didn't say, and you're just wrong about the questions being limited to Goodman's wealth. The other accusations and communications were brought up in court before the jury was questioned, and the judge discussed them with the lawyers before asking the jurors about bullying, the decision process, AND Goodman's wealth.

If the judge is concealing juror misconduct, somebody should let him know discussing it with both sides in open court isn't the best way to hide it.

JOEYPAD
JOEYPAD

and you know this for a fact

Rich Abdill
Rich Abdill

I'm not harassing him because he thinks Goodman is innocent -- I'm insulting him because he thinks Goodman is innocent and voted guilty. He's a juror; he can believe whatever he'd like and that's fine with me. What isn't fine is convicting a guy, then coming crawling back into court saying the other jurors were mean to him. He unequivocally failed his civic duty as a juror.

If I got sent to jail for 30 years because somebody was too chickenshit to stand up for what he believed in, I'd hope someone would write a blog post about that guy too.

JOEYPAD
JOEYPAD

and just where did you get this info from  the tooth fairy..no where does it state he reached out to anyone

Sdevon
Sdevon

Why isn't some of the 50mm settlement going towards a good cause in honor of Scott Wilson like a Van service for all the bars in Wellington?  Goodman is facing more jail time than the Norway killer which isn't right.  

Megalodon
Megalodon

"Where the money comes doesn't matter as long as money is used to help this problem."

Yes, it does matter.  You seemed to be haranguing Scott Wilson's parents because they have not donated some of the settlement to your proposed good cause.  They are victims of drunk driving and have received this compensation for the wrongful death of their son.  It is bad taste to imply that they are selfish because they do not dispose of the settlement as you think they should.  Victims of drunk driving and their families should not be considered as equally obligated to sacrifice their resources to correct the social problems caused by alcohol consumption. 

"Provide an alternative to designated drivers, judging if you think you can drive safely, getting a cab.  All good but add a no- brainer.  A drunk van."

If there is statistical evidence that "drunk vans" significantly reduce drunk driving and drunk accidents, that is all well and good.  However, I am not jumping to optimistic conclusions.  You do realize that a lot of drunk drivers refuse to believe that they are compromised or unfit to drive?  You have heard the line, "I'm fine.  I've only had a few."  They refuse offers to be driven or to take a taxi.  Lots of them may just say, "I"m fine.  I don't need the drunk van."  Unless we should also pay for police to monitor drinking establishments to decide which people are drunk and force them to ride the drunk van?

If you believe in subsidized "drunk vans," then let the burden fall chiefly on those who create the need for such vans, people who drive drunk and people who consume alcohol.  When people get DUI's, then add some kind of mandatory fine specifically for the "drunk van" fund.  Or add some kind of tax to alcohol sales that is specifically set aside for the "drunk van" fund.

"I would contribute out of my pocket.  You?"

No.  I am not contributing my money because of people who hold us hostage on the roads.

Sdevon
Sdevon

Where the money comes doesn't matter as long as money is used to help this problem. People are going to drink and drive=problem.  Provide an alternative to designated drivers, judging if you think you can drive safely, getting a cab.  All good but add a no- brainer.  A drunk van.  I believe Tampa has something like this in place.  Plenty of money in Wellington right?  I would contribute out of my pocket.  You?

Megalodon
Megalodon

"Fine, Norway is messed up but I don't live in Norway."

Okay then, so why bring it up?  You previously seemed to be suggesting that because of lenient punishments in Norway, then John Goodman's potential punishment was somehow invalid or unjust. 

"And instead of all the complaining why not a solution?  50mm can save a lot of lives!"

I am sure that Goodman still has another 50 million lying around somewhere.  Go tell him to contribute money to a solution, and some of his drinking buddies too.  The burden of contributing should not fall first on the people who have only received money as compensation for the wrongful death of their son.

Sdevon
Sdevon

Fine, Norway is messed up but I don't live in Norway. And instead of all the complaining why not a solution?  50mm can save a lot of lives!

Megalodon
Megalodon

"Goodman is facing more jail time than the Norway killer which isn't right."

Then go complain to Norway and its legislators.  Neither Scott Wilson's parents nor the State of Florida is responsible for Norway's lenient punishment philosophy.

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