CINCINNATI – A 70-year-old man deemed too obese for prison is hoping to have his sentence reduced so he can visit his family in Cincinnati before he dies.
A federal judge sentenced Steven Goodman in August 2012 to 30 months of house arrest for his role in a massive South Florida pill mill ring where he supplied more than 1 million oxycodone and other prescription pills to illegal pain management clinics.
Goodman, a 551-pound former pharmacist who lives near St. Petersburg, Florida, was determined to be “too obese” for prison.
At the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra said Goodman would be too much of a burden for the Bureau of Prisons because he can't dress or bathe himself, and prison beds wouldn't accommodate him.
Late last week, Goodman’s case resurfaced when he filed a motion to end his house arrest. He said he wanted to spend what time he had left without the electronic monitoring so he could travel to Cincinnati to see his family and friends "one last time before he dies."
Goodman has owned a home in Amberley Village since 2006.
Goodman's attorney, Edward Page, argued that his confinement at his Florida home was "both unnecessary and futile because his physical and medical condition effectively confines him to his home."
"His fear is so overwhelming, he just stays home rather than venturing out," Page wrote in a 10-page request. "Goodman spends most days in his bedroom in isolation… Each day may be one of his last.”
But Judge Marra was unmoved and denied his request, writing, "But for the defendant's obesity, he would have been given a prison sentence... To reduce the period of home confinement will result in the elimination of the only real form of punishment (he received) in this case."
Marra also questioned how, with Goodman's limited mobility, he could travel to Cincinnati.
Former Cincinnati prosecutor Frances Sheard said the rejection of Goodman's request was not a surprise.
"I think it would be a different situation if it was for a family funeral," she said. "Probably wouldn't happen then either, but just to visit, I don't think you can reasonably ask that."
If Goodman wants to see his family and friends, Sheard said they should visit him.
Neighbors who live near Goodman's Amberley Village property say he still pays a landscaper to mow the lawn once a week, despite not living there.
WCPO reporter Jason Law and Alex Hobson of WFTS contributed to this report.