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Money Won’t Buy You a Get Out of Jail Free Card

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on December 4, 2014

Money might buy you a nice car, but it won’t get you out of a manslaughter charge. The heir to a billion-dollar family fortune was sentenced to 16 years in prison on November 21 for killing a person in a drunk-driving accident, according to various media reports.

In 2010, John Goodman was driving a $200,000 Bentley while drunk and possibly on a run for cocaine. He had been drinking at the country club when ran a stop sign and slammed his Bentley into another car. The vehicle slid into a canal, killing the driver. Goodman waited nearly an hour to alert authorities of the accident.

Goodman has made many claims about the reason for the accident over the years, including that his brakes failed. A blood test at the time of accident showed his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. A jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in October.

A Unique Trial

Goodman’s route to sentencing was anything but normal. It was filled with more twists and turns than a crime novel. He was originally convicted in 2012 for the same offense, and sentenced to 16 years in a state prison. The conviction was overturned over charges of jury tampering. A jury member had a drinking problem of his own and had consumed Vodka prior to deliberating. The juror was later sentenced to prison by a judge.

There were two other claims of jury tampering at the second trial. One juror admitted to reading up about the case on the Internet and a friend of Goodman’s alerted the court about an attempt to bribe the jury. It’s unclear if the accusation has merit.

The Sentencing

Goodman made his fortune when he inherited an air conditioning business and sold the company for $1.4 billion. Goodman then founded a polo club with the money and become known as the “Polo King” of Florida.

Despite his money, Goodman was convicted of a serious crime and faced a wrongful death suit from the family of the man who died in the accident. He attempted to hide his assets from the family, but a $46 million settlement was eventually reached between Goodman’s insurance company and the man’s parents.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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