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Florida Supreme Court Will Hear Blood-Alcohol Case

Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A divided Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal by a Palm Beach County millionaire in a high-profile case related to testing drivers' blood-alcohol levels after traffic accidents.

Justices, in a 4-2 order Friday, said they would hear John Goodman's appeal of a ruling this year by the 4th District Court of Appeal. Goodman was convicted on a DUI manslaughter charge in a fatal crash in 2010. As part of the defense, Goodman's attorneys challenged Florida Department of Law Enforcement rules dealing with blood-alcohol tests.

While it rejected Goodman's arguments, a panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal asked the Supreme Court to decide two questions posed in the case — a request known as "certifying" questions to the Supreme Court. Those questions included whether the rules are "inadequate for failing to specifically regulate the work of analysts in screening blood samples, documenting irregularities and rejecting unfit samples."

The Supreme Court, as it normally does, did not explain its reasons for agreeing to take up the case. Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James E.C. Perry supported hearing the case. Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston dissented, while Chief Justice Jorge Labarga was recused.