Last year, Joseph Shaun Goodman completed a mandatory, court-ordered alcohol rehabilitation program in Thurston County, Washington, after his sixth arrest for drunk driving. He finished the course, but on December 29, he was not only drunk behind the wheel yet again, he led police on a wild chase in his Ferrari through the streets of downtown Olympia, hitting speeds of over 100 mph, smashing into two other cars and a house before police caught up and busted him at gunpoint.
Goodman’s driving was so frightening that a passenger leaped out of the moving sports car, a painful option but one he found preferable to staying in the car with Goodman at the wheel. He pleaded with Goodman to let him out, but the 42-year-old drunk driver sped up instead.
So what is Shaun Goodman’s punishment for his latest offense? If you think the justice system would throw the book at a man with seven DUI arrests who displays a brazen disregard for police as well as the lives of those around, you would be — wrong.
In fact, Shaun Goodman received a year of work release. He’s supposed to sleep in the Thurston County Jail, but by day he’s free to go out in the community and continue running the local business that made him rich enough to afford a $70,000 Ferrari.
Not only that, but in January while Goodman’s case was pending and he was under orders to wear an ankle bracelet and not to leave the state of Washington, a judge signed an order letting him to fly to New York — to go to the Super Bowl.
And that seemingly favorable treatment has some Olympia residents seeing red, because they say the justice system sees only green.
“It’s not fair that there’s a two-tiered legal system, one for those with money and another for those without,” said Sam Miller, who led a protest of about 25 people outside the Thurston County Courthouse Friday, after Goodman’s sentence was handed down.
Among those protesting was 27-year-old Henry Griffin, the man in Goodman’s car that night. Griffin met Goodman at the West Side Tavern in Olympia that night, where Shaun Goodman, he said, was flashing wads of cash and buying drinks for strangers.
Griffin made the mistake of letting Shaun Goodman drive him to another bar, and ended up a terrified prisoner instead, escaping only when Goodman briefly slowed down and Griffin hurled himself out of the car causing cuts and bruises over his whole body.
“He hit a buck thirty through all the red lights in town, I thought I was going to die, one-hundred percent,” said Griffin, who told a 911 dispatcher that he begged Griffin to stop, saying that he had a son and didn’t want to die. But Shaun Goodman just kept going.
“There are people who are less fortunate that get the shaft more, you know what I mean?” Griffin said of the Shaun Goodman work release sentence. “I just think that that’s wrong.”