Dennis DeMartin a juror on the infamous South Florida polo DUI manslaughter case has been convicted of contempt of court. The charges against the man were brought after a string of problems that halted a 16 year conviction for DUI manslaughter against John Goodman.
Judge Jeffrey Colbath does not believe that Dennis DeMartin was simply unaware of the issues he was causing in the courtroom through his hi-jinx. Colbath states, “If I found Mr. DeMartin a benign Mr. Magoo who was unaware of the destruction he left in his wake, then I would find differently. I don’t think that’s the case.”
Judge Colbath references a drinking experiment that DeMartin had conducted towards the end of the case as well as failing to mention his ex-wives DUI. Colbath considered these cases of misconduct. DeMartin was taken into custody immediately by Sheriff’s deputies and then transported to jail. His hearing will be at 7:45 on Tuesday and he could face up to six total months in jail, which is heavy for the 70 year old former accountant.
The primary witness against DeMartin was JoEllen Johnston. Johnston is DeMartin’s ex-wife and part of the DUI arrest that DeMartin did not mention while being a juror in the 2012 Goodman trial. News of this DUI did not come out by anyone but DeMartin himself. The former juror wrote three books since serving on the jury and his own revelation led him to be brought back into court on charges of contempt. JoEllen claims that she has little to do with the man outside of keeping in contact for the sake of their two children.
The DUI is just the start of the alcohol related issues for DeMartin. He conducted a drinking experiment the night prior to serving as a juror. Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson said that DeMartin admitted to drinking three different alcoholic drinks to try and get in the frame of mind of Goodman as he testified. Johnson claims to have told DeMartin to, “Stick to the evidence.”
Colbath insisted that the lawyers figure out a plea deal, but one was never reached. In response Colbath continued with his criminal contempt charges, which cited DeMartins lie to get on the jury, and has pushed for the 6 month sentence.
Jurors are never allowed to conduct experiments or try to solve the case. The role of a juror is to judge the evidence placed before them in court. Jurors should face harsh penalties for any independent investigations. Even driving by the scene of the crime is forbidden.
Patrick Donovan is a criminal attorney in Massachusetts. A former Assistant District Attorney Patrick Donovan strives to be the best criminal lawyer in Massachusetts.