A 551-pound former pharmacist, confined to 30 months of house arrest for his role in a massive South Florida pill mill ring, now wants his sentence reduced.
His argument: He's too heavy to leave home anyway, so house arrest is unnecessary.
The federal judge who sentenced him, however, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of West Palm Beach, was unmoved by that logic.
In a crisp order, Marra on Monday denied the request. "Defendant was spared a prison sentence, not as a favor to him, but in order to spare the Bureau of Prisons the burden of having to care for him," the judge wrote.
Steven Goodman, 70, received the sentence in August 2012 for supplying more than 1 million oxycodone and other prescription pills to "pain management" clinics run by Wellington twins Christopher and Jeffrey George.
The brothers are serving 14 and 15-and-a-half years respectively for disbursing illegal pills at clinics in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Wilton Manors.
Marra sentenced Goodman to confinement in his Treasure Island home near St. Petersburg because the prison system is ill-equipped to handle someone so large. He can't dress or bathe himself, and prison beds wouldn't accommodate him, the judge said. He'd also be exposed to unlimited portions of prison food, according to court records.
But in a 10-page request, Goodman's attorney, Edward Page of Tampa, argued that the final seven months of his client's house arrest should be nullified. "For Goodman, home confinement with electronic monitoring is both unnecessary and futile because his physical and medical condition effectively confines him to his home," the lawyer wrote.
Goodman, he said, cannot fit in a car or public bathrooms, and has an extreme fear of falling. "His fear is so overwhelming, he just stays home rather than venturing out," Page said. "Goodman spends most days in his bedroom in isolation."
Except for hospital stays, religious ceremonies and his wedding to Judith Bartell, Goodman hasn't left home since his sentencing. He suffers from a heart condition, sleep apnea and an incurable disease of the lymph system. His doctor has given him six to 12 months to live.
"Each day may be one of his last," Page said.
Goodman also wants to visit Cincinnati, Ohio, to bid farewell to friends and family. "If the court eliminates the home confinement aspect of his sentence, Goodman can endeavor to do this," Page said.
Marra questioned how, with Goodman's limited mobility, he could travel to Ohio. And finally, the judge turned the argument for sentence reduction around on itself.
"If defendant's health and obesity 'effectively confines him to his home,' then continuation of that restriction will not adversely affect him," he ruled.
Distributed by MCT Information Services