A judge on Wednesday denied a pair of requests from Dennis DeMartin’s lawyers to dismiss the contempt of court charges he racked up as a juror in Wellington polo mogul John Goodman’s DUI manslaughter case.
DeMartin, 70, could face possible jail time if Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath finds him guilty of contempt charges for withholding during jury selection the fact that DeMartin’s ex-wife had once been arrested for DUI — a fact that would have likely got him off the panel deciding Goodman’s March 2012 trial in the death of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson.
DeMartin also conducted his own drinking experiment the night before he and five other jurors began deliberations in the case, a charge Colbath added to his contempt case in May, when Colbath overturned Goodman’s conviction and 16-year prison sentence because of the alleged misconduct.
In the months since DeMartin was charged, his pro bono attorneys Robert Gershman and Joseph Walsh have filed two requests for Colbath to dismiss the case. In their first request, they said there was no sworn statement attached to DeMartin’s charges. Their second request said that the statute of limitations had run out in the case.
On Wednesday, Colbath batted down both dismissal requests. On the issue of the affidavit, Colbath said because he personally witnessed the actions tied to the contempt charge, no affidavit was necessary. On the statute of limitations issue, Colbath ruled that Gershman and Walsh were wrong in classifying the contempt charge as a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries a one-year statute of limitation. Colbath cited an appellate court ruling in his decision.
“Criminal contempt is a charge that is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, but is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year,” Colbath wrote.
DeMartin’s final contempt hearing is still set for October. In the meantime, Colbath is expected to soon hear arguments from prosecutors and DeMartin’s attorneys on whether DeMartin will be allowed to call Goodman prosecutor Sherri Collins as a witness in his case. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office has moved to bar her from testifying in the case.