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Archive 2010 Recent Posts STS&G News Goodove in the News

“The Top 100 Trial Lawyers” selects Michael L. Goodove

For Immediate Release:

Michael L. Goodove, Esq. has been nominated and selected to “The Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the American Association of Trial Lawyers. Membership is obtained through special invitation and is extended only to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications. Michael Goodove specializes in personal injury law and has assisted thousands of clients in almost every area of personal injury law including but not limited to automobile cases, products liability, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, legal malpractice and actively practices on both State and Federal Courts.

Archive 2010 STS&G News Goodove in the News

Michael Goodove comments on a new website that helps drivers avoid tickets and dui checkpoints.

Updated: Tuesday, 27 Jul 2010, 6:17 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 26 Jul 2010, 9:16 PM EDT

Eric Harryman
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – If you own a GPS or a smartphone, the latest technology to help you avoid getting expensive traffic tickets is literally a download away.

GPS tracking is designed to make driving more safe, but it also has the power to alert you to areas that could cost you if you break a traffic law. There are a few similar systems, but the one WAVY.com tested is called Phantom Alert.com.

Retired firefighter and Newport News resident Dennis Ricketts offered to take the system through its paces. Like thousands of other drivers, Ricketts doesn’t drive anywhere without his GPS. But Dennis said that’s not because he is afraid of getting lost.

Dennis’ GPS is armed with something others are not. The GPS tracking system, called Phantom Alert, that he downloaded more than a year ago, started working immediately.

“Alert, red light camera ahead,” the GPS said.

Getting caught by a red light camera can mean a traffic citation along with a fine of $50 that shows up in your mailbox.

“I know where they are, a lot of other people may not. It’s like a tool in a toolbox for your car. If you choose to use it, you’ll be a better driver,” said Ricketts.

Thirty seconds down the road, the Phantom Alert system spoke out again.

“Alert, school zone ahead. Reduce speed,” said the computerized GPS voice.

It’s not just school zones or red light cameras though, the system also alerts drivers to railroad crossings, speed traps and D.U.I. checkpoints, to name a few. With a paid subscription and a quick download, the system is ready to use.

The hope for many users is that the system will prevent traffic tickets, but the reality is that the system is only as reliable as its users. That’s because drivers who use the system, fuel the system by calling in or e-mailing hot spots, other users are then alerted through instant downloads.

WAVY.com wanted to find out how police feel about the technology, especially since those red light cameras can mean big revenue for the city. Virginia Beach Police Officer Jimmy Barnes said Phantom Alert and other similar systems actually enhance what they are trying to do.

“We think it’s great,” he said. “Technology works on both sides. We’re using technology to enforce the laws, technology also can tell you where we’re enforcing the law.”

But the alerts for DUI checkpoints could help drivers potentially avoid a checkpoint, after being notified of when and where it’s happening.

“Am I going to go through a DUI checkpoint? If it changes driver behavior, maybe I shouldn’t drive tonight or maybe I should get a designated driver, we’re all for that,” said Barnes.

Not everyone feels that way.

Mike Goodove, a Norfolk attorney and president of the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, lost his brother to a drunk driver. Goodove agreed Phantom Alert does some good things, but he says DUI checkpoint alerts aren’t one of them.

“It’s personal responsibility. I don’t think we can support a tool that encourages people to drink, drive and avoid detection,” Goodove said.

Even though many local cities publicize information about DUI checkpoints, Goodove says the problem is that users can get instant notification.

“When you’re behind the wheel and you get information that can help you avoid detection, which translates to you’re a danger to the public, that can’t be a good thing,” said Goodove.

Archive 2010 STS&G News

Michael Goodove comments on the proposal to privatize liquor sales.

Michael Goodove comments on the proposal to privatize liquor sales.

by Sula Kim
13NEWS / WVEC.com
Posted on July 22, 2010 at 1:21 AM

PORTSMOUTH–A proposal to privatize liquor sales in the state of Virginia is raising some eyebrows. The Governor’s office estimates it will generate about 300-500 million dollars from license fees and they plan to use the money for transportation.
Randy Withers from Angry Adams in Portsmouth supports the idea.
“I think it will encourage more people to open liquor stores,” he said.
But that’s exactly why Delegate Algie Howell is against it. He’s afraid liquor stores will start popping up in impoverished neighborhoods.
“As you know in most cities there liquor stores are in predominantly black areas and I’m afraid it will cause a problem for the state of Virginia.”
Virginia is one of only 18 states which owns its liquor stores. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a bit concerned about the proposal too. But whatever happens people hope the plan comes with strict regulations. They want the state to make money but not while jeopardizing public safety.
A report will be presented to the commission the end of August.

Goodove in the News Archive 2010 Recent Posts STS&G News

Police could ask DUI suspects place of last drink

Police could ask DUI suspects place of last drink

by Joe Flanagan, 13 News, and Associated Press

Posted on February 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 25 at 6:27 PM


RICHMOND (AP) — Police officers could begin asking people pulled over for driving under the influence where they had their last drink.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send the full Senate a bill that would require officers to ask where a suspected offender consumed his or her final drink. Officers would be required to pass that information along to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Del. John O’Bannon of Henrico, says it would help the board target establishments that violate alcohol laws.

Some local establishments say the law is not necessary and difficult to enforce.

The general manager of Scotty Quixx on Granby Street feels owners are doing all they can to serve alcohol responsibly now.

“Once he leaves the door, it’s kind of hard to control if he puts the key in the ignition or not.  Like I said, I have gone as far as calling cabs for people.  Standing next to them until the cab gets there and they refuse to get in the cab.  What do you do at that point?” said Rhett Ransdell.

“The burden would be on the ABC Board to prove that.  So it’s not automatic just because an individual was at an establishment and tells the police they were at an establishment. I can’t see the jeopardy to that licensing,’ said Michael Goodove of MADD.

“One of the challenges we have as owners is, we are told to cut someone off after they have had too much to drink. Well we understand that, but you can’t cut somebody off before they’ve had too much to drink, so it’s a tough situation to be in,” said Baxter Simmons, owner of Baxter’s in Norfolk.

“If the bars and restaurants are responsibly serving alcohol I can’t see that it is a problem,” said MADD’s Goodove.

In Virginia, it’s a misdemeanor to serve alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated.

The bill already has passed the House. If passed by the Senate, it will head to Gov. Bob McDonnell.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2010

Bookie avoids prison with plea deal in Norfolk

A longtime local sports bookie will avoid prison time and forfeit more than $1 million in cash and property under a plea agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.

Howard “Moose” Amdusky, 82, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 24.

The plea bargain is contingent on approval by U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. The judge said he will decide at sentencing whether to accept the agreement.

In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted running a sports betting operation for the past five years and that he’d been involved in bookmaking since the 1960s. The Virginian-Pilot reported in a story earlier this month that the Amdusky family’s betting operations date back to the Great Depression.

His attorney had said that Amdusky had gotten out of bookmaking but grew bored in retirement and returned to his illegal operation. In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted he had as many as 25 bettors waging on average $300 per sports event four to five times a week over the past five years.

In exchange for his quick guilty plea in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed to a sentence of probation or a combination of probation and house arrest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Muhr cited Amdusky’s age, ill health, cooperation in the investigation and agreement to give up his savings, a Miami condo and other property.

An investigation that began with Virginia Beach police has linked Amdusky to a widespread sports betting ring, according to court records. A Virginia Beach grand jury this month indicted an associate, Ronald B. Freedman, on a similar charge that will be handled in state court. Federal authorities, however, have seized about $500,000 in suspected gambling assets from Freedman.

The authorities also seized more than $1 million in cash from Amdusky, as well as a car, the condo and five pieces of artwork. Muhr told the court Tuesday that other assets belonging to family members will remain untouched.

Morgan questioned Amdusky at length about whether he understood the consequences of pleading guilty.

Amdusky, leaning heavily on a podium, said, “I completely understand, sir.” At one point, he asked to sit down.

Morgan said he must wait to see a pre-sentence investigation report before agreeing to the terms of the plea agreement.

Amdusky’s lawyer said his client and his family agreed to a heavy financial loss in exchange for avoiding prison.

“They really have nothing left,” said the attorney, Franklin Swartz.

Archive 2010 Recent Posts STS&G News Goodove in the News

70 mph bill going to governor’s desk

by 13 News

Posted on February 17, 2010 at 8:05 AM


PORTSMOUTH — The speed limit on most Virginia highways is 55 miles per hour, though it’s higher in some places.

State legislators want to raise the speed limit on some of the state’s rural highways to 70 miles per hour.

The bill has cleared the house and senate and is on its way to Governor Bob McDonnell’s desk.

Michael Goodove, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said he is concerned that higher speed limits will pose a threat to safety on the highways.

“Our concern is once you ramp the speed up, if it’s more deadly on the highways it’s not a good thing for the public,” said Goodove. “When you drink alcohol and drive that’s an intentional act, you’d be safer shooting a gun down the highway than getting behind a seven ton vehicle impaired and operating on the highway.”

Even if alcohol isn’t involved, some worry that letting people drive faster will lead to drivers getting careless.

Studies by the insurance industry have shown that higher speed limits leads to an increase in fatal accidents.

If the governor signs the bill, the new law would take effect in July.

Archive 2010 Quick STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot

Norfolk man pleads guilty to killing, avoids death penalty


Kentrell L. Sanderson pleaded guilty Wednesday to capital murder in the slaying of his 12-year-old stepdaughter, and the judge who sentenced him to life said the prosecution had been compromised because the state medical examiner involved had drug convictions.

Prosecutors previously said they would seek the death penalty for Sanderson at his trial, which had been set to begin in March.

The girl, Shatierra Sigler, died in September 2008 in the Pleasant Avenue apartment she shared with Sanderson, her mother, Robin, and her little sister.

Sanderson slit her throat and then raped her. He told police Shatierra’s fate was decided by a coin toss.

Revelations about the doctor’s history of drug and alcohol abuse led the case to end with Sanderson’s plea Wednesday to charges of capital murder, rape, sexual assault and unlawful wounding. Sanderson was sentenced to four life terms without parole plus five years.

Last month, prosecutor Philip G. Evans II alerted the court and defense lawyers that Dr. Gary Zientek, who performed Shatierra’s examination, was charged with three felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud in Henrico County.

Court records show the charges were reduced to misdemeanors, and Zientek was convicted and received a suspended sentence. Zientek’s medical license had been revoked in 2003, but it was reinstated in December 2007.

Circuit Judge Junius P. Fulton III said Zientek’s history of substance abuse, including while he was working as a doctor, “has compromised the Commonwealth’s ability to prosecute this case.”

In accepting Sanderson’s plea, Fulton said that “life without parole is a sentence I can live with.”

Shatierra’s uncle, Marc Hinson, said he could not.

“I have not made peace with it,” Hinson said outside the courtroom. “I can no longer get that guy the death sentence. I want to know why the state hired someone who prevented that from happening.”

The state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Leah Bush, said the Tidewater office was aware of Zientek’s history when he joined the staff in July 2008 for a year long fellowship.

Zientek had alcohol and drug abuse problems, Bush said, but he had been sober for years. He submitted to and passed random screens for drugs and alcohol, she said. He was always supervised by another doctor because of his fellowship status.

Doctors in the office discussed whether Zientek’s history would cause problems on the witness stand, she said, but because of his unrestricted medical license, his clean recent history and his stellar work record, it did not appear to pose an insurmountable hurdle.

If prosecutors didn’t try to present him as an expert witness, she said, “how would they know?”

Zientek, who now works for the state medical examiner’s office in Alaska, said he did not believe his convictions were relevant to his work on autopsies. Other prosecutors told him his past would not pose a problem for his testimony, he said. He had just completed his fellowship in forensic pathology, he said, and had not yet testified in any cases.

Commonwealth’s Attorney’s spokeswoman Amanda Howie said prosecutors understood the family’s frustration.

“While we had sought the death penalty in this case, several factors – of which Dr. Zientek is a significant one – resulted in the guilty plea,” Howie said in an e-mailed statement.

Defense lawyer B. Thomas Reed, who was not involved in Sanderson’s case but has defended several clients against capital murder charges, said Zientek’s history may have compromised his testimony but not trashed it.

Still, Reed said, capital murder trials require so much time and money to prosecute that “it’s an enormous amount of effort to put into a case that has a question mark.”

Zientek completed his fellowship with the Tidewater medical examiner’s office in June. His medical license in Alaska is probationary because of his convictions, and he must abide by conditions such as attending therapy and substance abuse meetings. Bush said he left the Tidewater office on good terms.

Howie said her office would review other cases in which Zientek conducted examinations as they come to light.

In court, Hinson testified that he had been like a father to the girl he called Shay since the day she was born. They shopped together, he said. When she was 5, he taught her sign language that she still remembered at 12.

“I always considered myself her guardian,” Hinson said.

Evans displayed a series of pictures of Shatierra: with her cousins at Christmas, on her grandmother’s lap at a Fourth of July picnic, mugging for the camera in front of the apartment on Pleasant Avenue. Teachers wrote letters about Shatierra’s quiet nature, but also her diligence, politeness and the hard work she gave to her classes.

In the week after Shay’s death, Hinson said, he collected the contributions to the makeshift memorial that grew in front of her apartment. Those items remain at his house, minus 17 teddy bears – each month since her death, he has taken a stuffed animal to Shatierra’s grave.

“You go ahead and enjoy your life in prison,” Hinson said, looking at Sanderson. “Hell will wait for you to arrive and begin to serve your true punishment.”

Sanderson spoke briefly, reading from a paper he unfolded.

“I want to say how sorry I am for what I did to Shay,” he said. “I’m sorry for the pain and grief and betrayal to her family. I accept full responsibility for what I did. I hope one day her family will forgive me for what I have done.”

STS&G News Goodove in the News Virginian-Pilot Archive 2010

Waterside Garage Shooter Acquitted of Murder Charge

By Michelle Washington
The Virginian-Pilot
© January 23, 2010


A jury found the man accused of murder in a March shooting at the Waterside parking garage guilty of unlawful wounding Friday, and sentenced him to serve 90 days in jail and pay a $2,500 fine.

Reginald Royals Jr., 25, was acquitted of all other charges, including the second-degree murder charge in the death of Juan Carlos Ovalle, 26.

Ovalle died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Ovalle’s friend, Marcus McGee, was shot five times. It was for that shooting that Royals was convicted.

The sentence means that Royals, in custody since the shooting, was released Friday night, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“All I want to say is, God is good,” said Royals’ mother, Jacquelyn Royals, after hearing the sentence.

The verdict and sentence concluded an emotional three-day trial during which dozens of friends and family members for both sides crowded the courtroom.

Prosecutor Megan Zwisohn told jurors from the beginning that the case was not about good versus evil.

Both Royals and Ovalle were hard-working men who had never been in trouble. Both had legally purchased handguns for which they had concealed-weapons permits.

Both men had their guns in the parking garage at Waterside. Their cars bumped as bar patrons left the area around closing time March 22.

The incident escalated to a fistfight.

Royals testified Thursday that he had not been the aggressor in the confrontation and that Ovalle had brandished his gun.

Royals said Ovalle and McGee attacked him and that he only pulled his own gun because he believed Ovalle reached for his.

During his sentencing hearing, Royals thanked jurors for listening to him.

“You had my life in your hands,” Royals said. “I never imagined in my whole life that anything like this would happen. I would never wish this on anyone. I wish things could have turned out totally different.”

McGee testified that he had lost his job and his apartment in the months following the shooting, because he was mentally unable to work. All five bullets remain in his body.

Many in Ovalle’s family cried after the verdict acquitting Royals of murder.

Outside the courtroom, his sister-in-law, Karen Ovalle, said the family would not stay for the sentencing.

“We can’t keep our composure in court,” Karen Ovalle said. She stood with her husband, Juan Carlos’ brother, Manuel.

“We’re going to be crying,” said Juan Carlos Ovalle’s sister, Belkis Ovalle. “We can’t believe that it’s happening.”

Royals’ friends and family held hands as they awaited the verdict. There were gasps and tears when it was announced. Royals’ mother hugged his lawyer, Jeffrey Swartz.

Swartz gathered Royals’ clothes to take to his mother. Royals would return to the jail to complete the paperwork that would set him free.

“Although there’s relief, there’s no joy here,” Swartz said. “Reggie’s family understands that a man is dead and another shot. Reggie will have to live with the decision he was forced to make in the blink of an eye.”