Appellate Law, Criminal Defense, Criminal Appeals & Criminal Appellate Review and Post Conviction Relief in Florida Courts, Federal District Courts and the 11th Circuit for Criminal Attorneys, Criminal Lawyers & Appellate Lawyers
Well, after winning a new trial (while the case is on appeal, no less) John Goodman lost a key member of his criminal defense team, Robert Black. For the articles in the Palm Beach Post and Sun Sentinel, click here and here. Maybe this means that Goodman and the State have reached a plea agreement?
Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post also reports that there’s quite a bit of legal havoc in the William Van Poyck death penalty case. Although I have not yet been able to locate the order issued by the Florida Supreme Court, the Court has apparently pulled a surprise move. Even as Van Poyck’s June execution date approaches, the Court appears to have appointed a team of lawyers from Palm Beach County to represent Van Poyck. For the article in the Palm Beach Post, click here.
To me, the Van Poyck case highlights just a fraction of what is wrong with Florida’s death penalty. If the case is still important enough for the court to appoint new lawyers, even at this late stage, why should the Governor be signing the warrant for Van Poyck’s execution? And why is it that after years of being unable to reach any sort of agreement with regard to amending the death penalty statute so as to render it constitutional, (why bother with that?), the Florida legislature is able to enact legislation that limits the appeals process, thereby actually speeding up the death penalty executions?
Palm Beach polo magnate John Goodman caught a lucky break- it looks like on Friday, May 3, 2013, Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Colbath granted Goodman’s motion for new trial based on juror misconduct. Criminal defense and criminal appeals lawyers know that such a break is extremely rare indeed. To read of an article about the defense victory, click here. To read my previous post on Goodman’s motion, click here. I wonder if the State will prosecute the juror for perjury based on his statements given during voir dire . . .
On another note, who knew that Palm Beach County was home to a rehab facility for Hollywood’s rich and famous? According to reports on CNN and WPTV. com, Lindsay Lohan is going to complete her rehab at the Lukens Institute in Palm Beach Gardens. If anyone sees Lindsay around town, be sure to give her a friendly wave!
As I was scrolling through the news this morning, I came across two articles in the Palm Beach Post that I wanted to pass along to the local criminal defense and criminal appeals attorneys out there.
The first article reports that Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Karen Miller has stated that she will call back jurors to inquire into allegations that the jurors discussed a criminal case before the evidence was closed, in violation of the court’s instructions. Although the Court has not set a date for the hearing, according to the article, the Judge decided to call the jurors back after a local criminal defense attorney filed an affidavit executed by one of the jurors, wherein the juror indicated that she had a “terrible concern that the verdict that the jury reached was not fair.” The individuals were both found guilty of the 2011 shooting death of a 15-year-old South Bay youth. They have not yet been sentenced.
In the next article (an op-ed piece), the Palm Beach Post notes that one of the jurors from the John Goodman trial recently admitted in a self-published book that his wife had once been arrested on a charge of DUI. Obviously, Goodman’s defense team says it asked all potential jurors if any family members had ever been charged with DUI, and that if they had known of his ex-wife’s arrest they would not have selected him. Armed with that information, John Goodman’s criminal appeals lawyers filed a motion in the Fourth District Court of Appeal case, seeking to have the Court relinquish jurisdiction so as to allow the trial court to consider the issue. The Fourth DCA initially denied Goodman’s motion on March 22, 2013. However, after Goodman filed a Motion for Reconsideration, the Fourth DCA granted the motion, and on April 1, 2013, the Court granted the Motion to Relinquish based on the newly discovered evidence of juror misconduct. The Court’s April 1, 2013, order which can be found on the Fourth DCA docket for case number 4D12-1930, reads as follows:
The motion to reconsider the order denying stay dated March 22, 2013, is denied. The motion for relinquishment based on newly discovered juror misconduct is granted for the defendant to file and present to the trial court a motion based upon the alleged juror misconduct and for the court to allow a juror interview and then to rule on the issue. Such relief is not procedurally barred. See e.g. Marshall v. State, 854 So. 2d 1235, 1242 (Fla. 2003); Davis v. State, 778 So. 2d 1096 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). Relinquishment is for a period of forty-five days. ORDERED that appellant’s motion filed March 28, 2013, for permission to file a reply to State’s response is hereby granted.
I don’t know about you, but I am glad to see that both Courts have taken the courageous step of inquiring into the serious issue of juror misconduct. Job well done.
Since it’s the holiday season, news in the criminal appeals arena has been a little slow, but I thought I’d pass along a few items.
First, John Goodman’s appeal is proceeding along, with the State of Florida filing its Answer Brief on December 26, 2012. Although the Answer Brief is not available electronically, you can read a summary of the State’s arguments in the Palm Beach Post by clicking here. The 4th DCA docket for the case, 4D12-1930, can be viewed by clicking here. Although Goodman’s attorneys have requested oral argument, the Court has not yet ruled on the request. From my experience, the 4th DCA does not often grant requests for oral argument. However, perhaps the high-profile nature of the case might influence the Court to grant the request.
Next, Broward County is considering changing its name to Lauderdale County. According to the Sun Sentinel, the goal of the change would be to promote tourism. Would a name change really make that much of a difference?
Finally, the bad news. Wyatt Cenac is leaving the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! To view some of the top Wyatt Cenac moments, click here, here, and here.