Tennis umpire Lois Goodman was accused of killing her husband with a coffee mug, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges last November. Now she’s suing for false arrest and malicious prosecution, going after the L.A. Police Department, the Coroner’s Department and members of those organizations.
Lois Goodman, 70 and her husband Alan Goodman, 80 at the time of his death, were married for 49 years. Authorities alleged that she murdered her husband with a coffee mug, beating him with it and using the broken handle to stab him.
The suit "alleges that the LAPD had no basis in law for what they did," Lois Goodman's attorney Robert Sheehan tells KPCC's Bianca Ramirez. "No sane person could have thought this was a homicide. Any homicide detective a week out o the academy would have known this was an accidental death."
Goodman was extradited from New York City in August of 2012, where she was set to referee at the U.S. Open. She maintained that her husband had fallen down the stairs, then managed to climb into bed, where she found him dead.
The suit is particularly critical of how Goodman's arrest was handled, with Sheehan calling their behavior "outrageous."
"They even alerted the media in New York City prior to arresting her, so that they could humiliate this little old lady," said Sheehan.
Prosecutors had dismissed the charges in November after saying they'd received new information, leaving them with insufficient evidence to charge Goodman in her husband's death.
Sheehan praised the D.A.'s Office for dismissing the case.
"We are not bringing suit against the L.A. County district attorney. The L.A. County district attorney acted professionally and admirably in every respect in this case," Sheehan said. "Once they realized the error that LAPD had made, the D.A.'s Office dismissed the prosecution, and that's to their great credit."
When asked by KPCC's Rob Strauss for comment, LAPD officer Cleon Joseph said that the department doesn’t respond to lawsuits.
Read the full suit:
This story has been updated.