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news 2013
Law Offices of Guy Fronstin
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TEL: 561.447.4011
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Media News 2013

WPBF - Feb 25, 2013 / Polo mogul on house arrest pending appeal of DUI manslaughter conviction
By WELLINGTON, Fla. —



John Goodman

Polo mogul John Goodman was taken to a hospital Monday evening from his Wellington estate with a medical issue.

Goodman is on house arrest pending an appeal of his DUI manslaughter conviction.

"Several weeks ago, Mr. Goodman had hip replacement surgery," said Goodman's attorney, Guy Fronstin. "This evening, the newly replaced hip came out of the socket. Therefore, Mr. Goodman was transported to the hospital to have the hip put back in place."

Fronstin confirmed the procedure was successful and Goodman was released from the hospital.

Goodman was convicted last year of DUI manslaughter in the 2010 death of college graduate Scott Wilson and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

However, a judge ruled that he could remain on house arrest pending his appeal.

In October, Goodman returned to jail after deputies claimed he had tampered with his ankle monitor. He spent another two months in jail before the same judge ruled that he could remain on house arrest.

The Plam Beach Post - Feb 27, 2013 / Ex-prosecutor denies allegations in Goodman appellate motion of improper contact with Wilson family attorney
By Daphne Duret. —

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Allen Eyestone

Claims of conflict of interest on the part of the former prosecutor who led the DUI manslaughter case against Wellington polo mogul John Goodman has become the newest battleground in his legal team’s fight for a new trial.

On Wednesday, Goodman’s legal team filed a motion with the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal asking the court to relinquish its jurisdiction in the high-profile case. Defense attorneys want to argue to Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath that former Assistant State Attorney Ellen Roberts used Goodman’s prosecution first to try to get herself appointed interim state attorney, and then to secure a post-retirement job with a firm representing the victim’s father.

Attorneys Roy Black and Richard Strafer allege that Roberts asked Scott Smith, an attorney for 23-year-old Scott Wilson’s father William, to put in a good word for her with his politically connected family last year, when Roberts was trying to be appointed interim state attorney. When her quest failed, they said, she began angling for a job at the accident injury firm Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, where Smith is a partner.

This all happened, they said, as she vigorously prosecuted Goodman for the February 2010 Wellington crash that killed Scott Wilson after Goodman’s Bentley pushed Wilson’s Hyundai into a canal, where he drowned.

Both Roberts and Smith on Wednesday called the allegations a desperate ploy by Goodman’s team to get him out of his conviction and looming 16-year prison sentence.

“If they’re filing this kind of stuff now, obviously it must mean the appeal isn’t going too well,” Roberts said of the filing. “We did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Lawyers for Goodman, now on house arrest while he appeals his case, say Roberts was hoping her position as Goodman’s prosecutor would help her get Smith to ask his brothers in law ￿ U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Punta Gorda and state Rep. Pat Rooney, R-Palm Beach Gardens ￿ to recommend her to Florida Gov. Rick Scott as he was considering who to appoint as interim state attorney for Palm Beach County.

But Tom Rooney laughed at the notion when reached by phone Wednesday, explaining quickly that he’s known “Mrs. Roberts” since he was 13 or 14 years old. Rooney attended grade school with Roberts’ daughter, and credits Roberts as one of the reasons he became a prosecutor.

“I’ve known Mrs. Roberts much longer than he has,” Rooney said of Smith. “I spoke to her directly about the recommendation, and I wanted to do everything I could to help her. To suggest it was anything else is just absurd.”

Though Roberts made the short list of candidates for the interim job, Gov. Scott eventually appointed former deputy attorney general Peter Antonacci.

Emails attached to Goodman’s request show Roberts and Smith exchanged correspondence about her working at the Lytal Reiter firm after Goodman’s conviction, but before he was sentenced. Roberts began working at the firm three days a week shortly after she retired last May.

Smith, on Wednesday, said he wooed Roberts to the firm because he was impressed with her work, and their negotiations came long after he and attorney Christian Searcy helped negotiate a $40 million settlement of the wrongful death suit William and Lili Wilson filed against Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, on behalf of their son.

“I’ve said this so many times before, and I’ll say it again now: Mr. Goodman continues to try to blame others when he was the one who ran a stop sign at nearly twice the speed limit and left the scene of the crash where 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson died. We can’t ever forget that,” Smith said.

Goodman is currently free on a $7 million cash appellate bond and, as a condition of his release, must pay for two off-duty sheriff’s deputies to guard him at all times.

His legal team, through attorney Guy Fronstin, declined to comment further on the pleading.

Because Goodman had already filed his appeal with the 4th DCA, the appellate court would have to surrender jurisdiction back to the trial court for Colbath to make a ruling on the motion.

SunSentinel - Feb 14, 2013 / Boca Raton woman at center of fight over mugshot websites
By Ben Wolford, Sun Sentinel

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In her booking mugshot, Barbara J. De Paolo, then 79, has puffy, sad eyes. Her face is washed out in the glare of the camera flash at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Arrested in 2011 in Boca Raton, she was facing charges she beat her elderly husband. She spent only one night in jail, and the case never went forward. Her husband died two months later, and De Paolo tried to moved on.

But her face and the cause of her arrest are etched online, splattered across the first page of a Google search. Numerous websites aggregate booking mugs from across the country, then leave them there even after suspects have been acquitted. To have the pictures removed can cost hundreds of dollars, say people lobbying against the sites.

The problem moved a St. Petersburg-area lawmaker. Rep. Carl F. Zimmermann, D-Palm Harbor, filed a bill Monday that would require websites to remove the information of acquitted suspects within 15 days or face fines.

"At that point, this type of information becomes libel," Zimmermann said. He called it extortion that the websites charge a fee for taking the pictures down.

First Amendment advocates won't defend the mugshot sites, but they blast Zimmermann's bill. They say government has no right to silence free speech when the information is in the public record.

"To be candid, it reminds me of the stories I've heard in history class about Stalin airbrushing people out of history," said Jim Lake, a Tampa attorney with Thomas and LoCicero, a firm that represents several Florida newspapers, including the Sun Sentinel.

Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, Lake added, were both acquitted.

On Jan. 20, 2011, De Paolo was the primary caregiver for her ailing husband at home, and her exasperation was growing. In a moment of frustration with his incontinence, she grabbed his arm to try to make him use the toilet. He called police.

Boca Raton officers hauled her to the county lockup and snapped her photo. But her husband never pressed charges, and there was not enough evidence to prosecute. She was released the next day.

"I am hoping that before I die, my rights will be honored as an elderly senior citizen who is innocent and has been charged for a crime she did not commit," wrote De Paolo, now 81, in an email.

Yet her picture — and sometimes a map and a picture of her house — keep showing up on Internet databases, on websites including bustedmugshots.com and http://www.arre.st. She said when she sought to have the information removed, the websites asked for $398.

"I am on a fixed income, and I already paid to have my record expunged," De Paolo said.

Messages to bustedmugshots.com and mugshots.com were not returned Thursday. The companies usually have an "about" page with disclaimers about innocence and insist their websites are about fostering government transparency and deterring crime.

Busted! Mugshots has testimonials on one of its pages. "I thought all of my friends were law-abiding citizens," Robert P., of Boston allegedly writes. "Boy was I wrong!"

Meanwhile, an industry of reputation defenders has grown alongside the mugshot sites, including InternetReputation.com. It claims it can have the mugshots deleted. Then it barrages the Internet with search-engine friendly, positive information.

Zimmermann's legislation grew out of a complaint from a constituent, whom he referred to only as "Jill."

"She told me that she had been charged with something, she had been found innocent and it's ruining her life," he said. "When she was ready to pay three of them, three more popped up."

His bill seeks to fine the website operators $100 for every week the information stays online after people prove the case didn't result in a conviction. Others have attempted to fight mugshot aggregators other ways. A man in Ohio argued the websites were violating his right of publicity, which ensures no one can use another's likeness for profit without consent.

Zimmermann, a high school teacher of broadcast journalism, says his bill has received no resistance yet, and he insists "the First Amendment is something that I defend vigorously."

But groups like the Florida Press Association are likely to push back hard. Lake, the media lawyer, says courts have been reluctant to come down on the side of suppressing free speech.

"By and large, the First Amendment says when speech is harmful in some way, the response should be speech that corrects in some way," Lake said.

SunSentinel - July 11, 2013 / Boca driver pleads guilty in road rage case involving bat
By Marc Freeman, Sun Sentinel

Defendant sentenced to three years probation

A Boca Raton man will avoid jail from a road rage attack in the city last summer, according to a deal with prosecutors approved Thursday.

Ralph B. Jacobsohn, 64, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The case involved an Aug. 14, 2012 altercation involving an aluminum baseball bat that started in the southbound lanes of Military Trail, near the 4000 block.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp sentenced Jacobsohn to three years of probation; the defendant had faced a maximum prison term of five years for a third-degree felony conviction.

According to a police report, Jacobsohn was at a red light when he got out of his Infiniti and approached a Lexus driven by Eric Lubitz, 43, of Delray Beach. Lubitz told police Jacobsohn accused him of cutting him off in traffic and then punched Lubitz, as his 2-year-old son sat in the back, weeping in his child safety seat.

When Lubitz saw Jacobsohn take the bat from his trunk, Lubitz drove off. A chase ensued and Lubitz arrived at the Wyndham Hotel parking lot, 1950 W. Glades Road.

Jacobsohn again grabbed the bat, swung at the other motorist and missed, the report said. Jacobsohn allegedly returned to his Infiniti and drove toward Lubitz, who jumped on the hood to avoid getting hit. After the front of Jacobsohn's car hit Lubitz's driver's side door, Jacobsohn drove off. Jacobsohn later told police he was the victim, while also claiming to have taken his car for repairs and discarded the bat.

As part of the plea, the State Attorney's Office dropped a battery charge, said prosecutor Justin Hoover.

Rapp ordered Jacobsohn to pay about $2,900 in restitution to Lubitz, and attend an anger management program. If Jacobsohn fulfills these conditions and keeps clear of trouble, the probation will end after two years and no conviction will appear on his record.

Defense attorney Arye P. Corbett said his client is pleased to resolve the case and put the "unfortunate incident" behind him.

Palm Beach Post - Sept. 16, 2013 / Prosecutor in Dalia Dippolito murder-for-hire case writes a book
By Daphne Duret - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

It seemed like a page from a novel when Boynton Beach police first revealed their discovery of a failed murder-for-hire plot hatched by a young woman who had it out for her husband. Now, the story really will be available on Amazon.com for $18.79.Out in hardback Feb. 4, 2014, but available for pre-order now: "Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito's Plot to Kill."

The book has been written by the lead prosecutor in the case, Elizabeth Parker, and Mark Ebner, an award-winning journalist and author whose last true crime novel was published in 2011, according to Amazon.com.

An excerpt of the online synopsis:

In August 2009, former madam Dalia Dippolito conspired with a hit man to arrange her ex-con husband's murder. Days later, it seemed as if all had gone according to plan. The beautiful, young Dalia came home from her health club to an elaborate crime scene, complete with yellow tape outlining her townhome and police milling about. When Sgt. Frank Ranzie of the Boynton Beach, Florida, police informed her of her husband Michael's apparent murder, the newlywed Dippolito can be seen on surveillance video collapsing into the cop's arms, like any loving wife would-or any wife who was pretending to be loving would. The only thing missing from her performance were actual tears.

...And the only thing missing from the murder scene was an actual murder.

Parker, who left the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office shortly after Dippolito's 2011 trial, said Friday through her publicist Michael Wright that several publishers approached her with the idea of writing a book in the case. She said she accepted an offer because it would give her an opportunity to reveal some behind-the-scenes details about the case that jurors and the public didn't get to hear.

"There was just such an interesting cast of characters involved here," Wright said. "Anyone who appreciates true crime novels will enjoy reading it."

Dippolito is currently on house arrest while she appeals her conviction and 20-year prison sentence.

Guy Fronstin, the attorney who represented Michael Dippolito throughout his now-ex-wife's trial, said Parker's position as prosecutor in the case gave her the best vantage point of all to write the book.

"No one knows the case better than Liz Parker," he said.

Sun Sentinel - October 18, 2013 / Claire's extortion case ends with 3-year prison sentence
By Marc Freeman - Sun Sentinel

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When people search Google for Rowland Schaefer, the first results are not about the man who built Claire's into a worldwide fashion retail powerhouse, but instead are about Camille Brown. The Plantation woman was convicted by a jury last month of trying to extort $3 million from Schaefer's family by threatening to divulge supposed dark secrets.

Those Google results horrify Rowland Schaefer's daughter, Bonnie Schaefer, who on Friday showed no mercy and asked the judge to send Brown, 33, to state prison for the maximum 15 years as punishment for harming the reputation of her dad, and late mother, Sylvia Schaefer.

"It overpowers all the good this man has done in his life," Schaefer told Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Miller. "It breaks my heart."

After prosecutors requested a seven-year sentence, the defense asked for five years probation, and Brown issued a partial apology, Miller settled on three years in prison, plus five years probation. The judge then ordered Brown to return 50-plus letters written by Sylvia Schaefer more than a decade ago.

After a two-day trial, jurors quickly rejected Brown's defense that she was merely angry that her mother, Coleen Parkes, was abruptly fired after 15 years of loyal service as a housekeeper and nurse for the elderly Schaefers in Hollywood.

Brown "never realized that what she did, in fact, was incredibly wrong," Assistant State Attorney Andrea Robinson said.

Moments later, Brown testified she was just trying to get answers about the dismissal when she sent Bonnie Schaefer an email on Sept. 25, 2012, titled "Letters from home." It accused Rowland Schaefer of mistreating Parkes, among other allegations the Sun Sentinel has decided against publishing because the contents can't be verified.

"Promptly respond with a show of commitment to protecting your family's name and the reputation of your father. Otherwise the letters will go to the highest bidder — CNN, Time, Forbes, etc. etc.," the email reads.

Brown, denying she intended on carrying out the extortion, accused an undercover Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent of twice luring her to a Hampton Inn in Boynton Beach, to discuss and arrange a trade: the letters for the money. The jury heard recordings of those meetings; the second ended in Brown's arrest.

"I agree the letter I wrote was off the wall," Brown, a former Broward charter school curriculum specialist with no prior criminal record, told the judge Friday. "From the bottom of my heart I am really sorry I wrote such a mean letter to Mrs. Schaefer."

Brown also repeated her denials about the extortion: "I was never grubbing after the Schaefer money."

Brown insisted Sylvia Schaefer had freely handed her the documents for safe keeping and "it was never my intention to publicize the Schaefer secrets" before or after Parkes was "discarded" by a phone call.

But Bonnie Schaefer accused Brown of stealing the letters and using them in a blackmail attempt based on "unmitigated greed." Schaefer said the letters were "musings" that her mom may have been written during "a bad patch" in an otherwise long and happy marriage.

"Even though these allegations are outright lies, they cannot be unsaid," Schaefer said. "So yes, it's been very hurtful for me and my family."

Schaefer's father and mother, who were 96 and 89 at the time of Brown's arrest in October 2012, died in May within days of each other.

Rowland Schaefer bought the then little-known Claire's stores in the 1970s and sold the girl-focused accessories chain in 2007 to a private equity firm for $3 billion, with the family's holdings estimated at $239 million, according to published reports.

Bonnie Schaefer, who complained about a "media circus" following the case, asked the judge for a harsh sentence that would send a message "the crime of elderly exploitation will not be tolerated."

Schaefer, through her attorney, declined to comment after the sentencing. Robinson said Brown deserved a lengthy sentence but called the judge's decision fair.

Defense attorneys Guy Fronstin and Arye P. Corbett said they weren't satisfied with the outcome but appreciated that Miller listened to their arguments for leniency and made a "just decision."

The hearing featured an odd moment when Keith Barnes, a long-time friend of Brown's, spoke for several minutes about how she is so "remarkable."

"I'd marry her right now," he said, begging the judge to release Brown.

"We're really not here to perform a marriage ceremony," Miller answered.

Sun Sentinel - September 13, 2013 / Child in parking lot prompts investigation of day care
By Linda Trischitta - Sun Sentinel

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A 4-year-old boy who may not have been supervised at a Pompano Beach day care center was reported by a passer-by to law enforcement, prompting state and county investigations.

"The child was left in a day care van; he got out and was found walking in the parking lot," Broward sheriff's spokeswoman Gina Carter said Tuesday.

The boy was noticed about 6 p.m. Monday at Little Rainbow Academy at 101 SE 11th Ave.

He is in good condition and in the care of family, Carter said.

A lawyer for the facility said there may have been trouble with the van's alarm system that is supposed to alert a driver to children who may be left behind.

"The investigation has not determined exactly how this occurred, but somewhere along the line, the alarm system failed," attorney Guy Fronstin said in an email.

Broward County licenses Little Rainbow Academy. It passed two inspections in 2013, including its installation of child safety alarms in five vehicles that were tested and verified in June, county reports said.

Little Rainbow Academy's vehicle inspections were to expire July 27, 2013, according to the county's Human Services Department, child care licensing and enforcement's online report.

A Human Services official did not respond Tuesday to a Sun Sentinel request for the inspection status of the day care's vehicles.

The day care "has numerous checks and balances in place to assure the safety of all children … to assure that each child is always accounted for," Fronstin said. "We are fully cooperating in the investigation. Protecting the children is, and always will be, my client's highest priority."

BSO's Special Victims Unit is investigating, as is the Florida Department of Children and Families, officials said. No one was arrested Tuesday, Carter said.

Sun Sentinel - October 24, 2013 / Man attacks teen hockey player after son elbowed in game, deputies say
Staff Report - Sun Sentinel

A 44-year-old man who stands 6 foot 3 and weighs 230 pounds is accused of attacking a 14-year-old boy during a kid's hockey game in Lake Worth, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Matthew Charles Supran, a Delray Beach chiropractor, is accused of attacking the boy after his son was elbowed in the face. He was charged with child abuse, according to the report.

The problems started when the teen elbowed Supran's teenage son in the face during the game at about 3 p.m. Sunday, according to the report, which included statements from the victim, his mother and stepfather and the referee of the game.

The referee told deputies that the play was not "malicious," and he gave the victim a five-minute penalty. The younger Supran fell to the ice after being hit, the report states.

That's when the victim and witnesses say Matthew Supran ran on the ice and punched the victim in the face, then grabbed the teen by the helmet and slammed his head into the boards around the rink. Supran then fell on top of the teen, according to the report.

The referee and a coach had to "pull the defendant off of the player," a deputy wrote in the report.

The parents of the victim told deputies they knew Supran from the hockey league their sons play in, and that Supran "would know their son is a juvenile," according to the report.

State records show that Supran, who lives in Boca Raton, has no prior arrests.

Supran was arrested at his Delray office at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. He was released on a $3,000 bail.