The U.S. Open line judge accused of killing her husband with a coffee mug is now free after Los Angeles County prosecutors dropped their murder charges against her. 70-year-old Lois Goodman was initially charged with bludgeoning her late husband, 80-year-old Alan Goodman days before she was to officiate the U.S. Open in August. The story made headlines when she was arrested in her officiating uniform and held at Rikers Island before initially being freed on bond.
Throughout the proceedings, Goodman had maintained her innocence, saying that she found her husband dead after what she believed was a fall after he suffered a heart attack. In building a defense, Goodman's lawyers arranged a lie-detector test, which she passed. Perhaps the most important part of the case came when investigators found no DNA evidence on the coffee cup found at the scene that police believe was used to kill her husband.
On Good Morning America, Goodman expressed her gratitude and explained that she always knew that her name would be cleared. Her attorneys praised the prosecutors for following their obligations to dismissing the case after the evidence showed that no crime was committed.
The story underscores the importance of having an attorney when charged (or under investigation for) a crime. Experienced criminal defense lawyers have the familiarity and aptitude to analyze minute (yet important) aspects of a case and create viable defenses in situations where police believe that a crime has been committed. Whether it is through analysis of procedural rules or challenging witness accounts, having a criminal defense attorney on your side is critical if you are facing criminal charges.
Source: ABC News.com, Lois Goodman Case: Tennis Line Judge's Attorney Says Case 'Got Out of Hand', December 3, 2012