Judge: Murder defendant's DNA can be collected
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers for a prominent professional tennis referee who is charged with killing her husband lost a bid Wednesday to block California prosecutors from taking a sample of her DNA.
Lois Ann Goodman, who is free on $500,000 bail and wearing an electronic monitoring device, appeared in court with her lawyers. They argued it would be an impermissible intrusion to force her to give a saliva sample.
"Taking DNA suggests some form of criminality," said attorney Robert Sheahen. "It gives the indication that there is probable cause in the case."
He also argued that a saliva swab from Goodman was taken when she was arrested and was entered into a state database. Sheahen suggested prosecutors could obtain it there.
But Deputy District Attorney Lisa Tanner said that sample is not available to prosecutors.
"We need it to further investigate this case," she said. "We need it to compare it to blood taken at the scene."
Sheahen and co-counsel Allison Trieissl suggested that prosecutors are seeking to take the sample in order to prejudice the defendant in a high profile case.
"This is Mrs. Goodman's house," Sheahen said. "There's going to be her DNA in here. " He said it was also likely her DNA was on the coffee cup because "It's her coffee cup."
Superior Court Judge Jessica Silvers told them it is permissible to take the sample, as long as it is done in a private setting.
Goodman's lawyers said they will consider appealing the ruling. They said the law of DNA is relatively new and cases are currently pending in California appellate courts on issues similar to the Goodman case.
"We don't want to see Mrs. Goodman get pushed around," Sheahen said outside court. "She's a little old lady and she's been pushed around already."
Goodman,70, who has refereed matches between some of tennis' greatest players, has pleaded not guilty to killing her 80-year-old husband by beating him with a coffee cup and using its broken handle to stab him.
She was arrested last month, just before she was to referee a match at the U.S. Open in New York.
Her husband, Alan Goodman, died in April. Authorities initially believed he likely fell down stairs at home while she was away but later decided it was homicide. He was struck 10 times on the head, prosecutors said.
After the attack, Lois Goodman left to referee a tennis match and have her nails done, authorities said.
The couple were married nearly 50 years and have three grown children.
Tanner said outside court that if Goodman claims someone else committed the crime, she should be willing to provide her DNA for comparison with blood found in the house.
In a motion filed before the hearing, the defense said that police had bungled the investigation at the outset and accused them of trying to get Goodman to help repair their mistakes. They said that Goodman offered police a bag with bloody towels and the broken cup on the day her husband died. But it said police refused it, saying they didn't need the evidence.