Olympia, WA- Protesters in Olympia, Washington gathered outside a courtroom Friday to express their anger over the lenient sentence given to a wealthy local business man after his seventh DUI arrest. Some of the 50 or so protesters said they believe Shaun Goodman was given a preferential treatment for his latest DUI arrest because he has money.
Goodman was arrested for his latest DUI late last December when he led police on a high speed chase through downtown Olympia in his 2000 Ferrari, the Seattle Times reported. Goodman was traveling at speeds of 100 mph before he crashed into another car and home.
The chase started around 11 p.m. Dec. 29th when police spotted a speeding Ferrari in Olympia’s west end, but Goodman wasn’t going to surrender and fled from police with a terrified passenger.
Henry Griffith, who was among the protesters, met Goodman earlier that evening at a local tavern and accepted a ride from him. When the police chase began, out of fear for his life, Griffith bailed from the car as Goodman slowed through the downtown area, according to the Seattle Times.
Griffith was injured and is still trying to recover from his injuries.
Goodman pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, making it his seventh such charge, and felony evading charges. He was sentenced to one year work release and is allowed to leave during the weekdays so he can run his small communications business and allow his employees to keep their jobs. He must check into to the jail nights and weekends.
Protestors also took issue with a January court order which gave Goodman permission to travel to New Jersey to attend the Super Bowl while his case was still pending.
The prosecutor in the case said by allowing Goodman to keep his small business, he will have more incentive to lead a sober life and said that Goodman’s wealth had no bearing on his treatment in court.
When he was sentenced, the judge overseeing his case noted that Goodman had 6 prior DUI arrests, two of which he was able to lower to negligent driving convictions.
Sam Miller, organizer of the protest, told the Seattle Times we have a “two-tiered legal system” which gives preference to wealthy offenders over those with no money.
There is little doubt that if you are wealthy, you are likely to fare better in court; the wealthy can afford great DUI attorneys. But in Goodman’s case, he was given the maximum amount of time in jail for his DUI the state’s law will allow.
The protestors and Griffith say Goodman should have not have been given work release and should have to spend every minute of his sentence behind bars.
There are a number of things prosecutors and judges must consider when sentencing a convicted DUI offender. Their standing in the community is one of those and a savvy DUI attorney would see that as an effective tool in garnering leniency.