Juror Michael St. John of West Palm Beach told the judge he felt at least some of the jurors had decided on Goodman’s guilt before the trial ended.
“Comments like, ‘You know he’s guilty. Let’s just sign the paperwork and get out of here,’” St. John said, as Goodman’s defense attorneys — including Miami attorney Roy Black — paid close attention. “I thought like these people had their minds made up.”
He went on to say, “I didn’t feel the whole process was taken seriously,” adding he voted for guilty “from the pressure I was getting from them.”
Each juror was polled by the judge after the verdict, and they all affirmed their guilty votes. Colbath asked St. John why he did not speak up then, when given the chance.
St. John replied that at the time he was so ashamed he could not look Goodman or the judge in the eye. “When I walked out of there I knew I should have stuck by my guns,” he said.
The statements raise new legal issues in Goodman’s conviction, and now Colbath must decide if St. John’s assertions are enough to warrant a new trial, a ruling the judge said he expects to make within days.
Prosecutor Ellen Roberts said she didn’t think the new information was sufficient to overturn the verdict.
“Based on what I know so far, I’m not concerned,” she said.
Black said he would continue to pursue legal issues until he was assured there was no misconduct and that Goodman received a “fair shake.”
The other five jurors told the judge they observed no misconduct, such as conversations about the case or Goodman’s wealth. They also said they didn’t hear their colleagues stating they had made up their minds about Goodman’s guilt before the trial was over or that they felt pressure to vote one way or another.
Goodman, 48, initially was to be sentenced Monday on the DUI-manslaughter charge, which carries up to 30 years in prison. That now is set for May 11, if Goodman’s conviction stands. He remains in the Palm Beach County Jail without bail.
Jury deliberations and verdicts are considered sacrosanct in the legal world, and judges are reluctant to second-guess the process without clear evidence suggesting misconduct.