Angry protesters marched on the Thurston County, Washington, courthouse last week after Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller handed down a year of work release and no jail time to DUI offender Joshua Shaun Goodman.
Normal DUI circumstances might not have prompted such an upheaval. However, Goodman’s DUI circumstances were hardly normal.
Goodman led officers on a high speed chase in his Ferrari while driving with a 0.16 percent blood alcohol content. It was only after Goodman crashed his Ferrari into two vehicles and a house that officers were able to arrest him.
Goodman’s passenger, Henry Griffin, who had only met Goodman earlier in the evening, bailed out of the Ferrari while it was moving to escape. Goodman was giving Griffin a ride to another bar when Goodman began hitting speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
The DUI conviction was Goodman’s seventh.
How did Judge Dixon justify the sentence?
Goodman’s DUI attorney argued that Goodman’s business would fail and his client’s employees would be out of a job if Goodman wasn’t present for work. It seems, the judge agreed.
“And the judge has said at some point that he’s an important businessman in the community,” local resident and protester, Sam Miller said. “It wouldn’t be fair for him [and] his employees would suffer if he went to real jail. And my question is — what about the people that might suffer if he kills somebody?”
Interestingly, Washington DUI law mandates a minimum of 120 days in jail for anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher who also has two or more prior DUI offenses. The only exception to this rule is when the sentence “would impose a substantial risk to the offender’s physical or mental well-being.”
What’s more, after Goodman posted $75,000 in January, Judge James Dixon allowed Goodman to fly to New York to enjoy “what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see his hometown team play in the Super Bowl.”