Estranged wife says state Rep. Roger Goodman drove stoned

February 27, 2013

By Caleb Heeringa

In his six years in the Washington State House, 45th District Rep. Roger Goodman (D), has made a name for himself toughening driving under the influence laws, even winning a “legislator of the year” award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

But in documents submitted in Goodman’s ongoing divorce from his wife of 16 years, Liv Grohn, and in interviews, Goodman seems to admit to driving after using marijuana. These allegations concern a time period when even possession of marijuana was illegal.

In an Oct. 4 court filing, Grohn accuses Goodman of acting “with willful disregard for our children’s safety by repeatedly driving them while stoned.”

The filing recounts a June 2011 incident in which the couple prepared to take their two young children swimming at the beach. Grohn’s statement, made under penalty of perjury, says she came outside to find their children buckled into the vehicle, but Goodman was nowhere to be found. Goodman then came from the side of the couple’s Kirkland home “reeking of marijuana,” Grohn states.

Roger Goodman

Roger Goodman

Grohn alleges that Goodman admitted that he had “repeatedly and purposefully gotten stoned by the side of the house before driving the children” and balked at her request that he take a drug test before being allowed to have their children in the car, saying it violated his civil liberties.

Grohn forbade Goodman from driving their children, up until she filed for divorce in October 2012.

Goodman denies most of the allegations Grohn makes in her court filings.

In emails between Grohn and Goodman filed with the court, the legislator – who has also been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization – seemingly admits to having driven while stoned in the past but claims that he is no longer smoking marijuana.

“As to my driving the kids, I understand that you cannot trust me at this time, despite the objective evidence,” Goodman wrote in a Sept. 7 email to Grohn. “I understand how my past behavior and my past deceptive statements before I quit the habit continue to give you pause.”

In an interview, Goodman said the “past behavior” he referred to was his “use of a substance my wife disapproved of” and was not related to driving.

Goodman also accused Grohn of talking on a cell phone while driving, which he says is much more dangerous than impaired driving.

“What is legal or illegal should be less of a concern than what is clearly demonstrated to be more dangerous,” Goodman wrote in the email in court documents. “If you continue to drive the kids while talking on the phone, it seems unfair and hypocritical to me.”

In an emailed statement to the Review, Goodman, who won a Safety Champion Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states that he “is not perfect” regarding drug use but denies having ever been too intoxicated to drive or to have driven his children while high.

“I think most people would say they’ve done the equivalent of having a glass of wine at a dinner party and still driven home,” he wrote in the email.

Goodman is chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, which has oversight of laws involving impaired driving.

Initiative 502 set the legal limit for driving at 5 nanograms per mililiter of active THC — the substance in marijuana that makes people high. However, Goodman and others have questioned the scientific basis for that amount, and the tie between THC in the blood and actual impairment behind the wheel.

According to the NHTSA, smokers often show THC levels upwards of 100 nanograms immediately after consuming marijuana and THC levels generally drop below 5 nanograms about three hours after smoking. The agency notes that those estimates vary based on the potency of the marijuana and the way it is used.

Goodman denies having ever driven within three hours after using marijuana.

Goodman notes that he’s never been stopped or arrested for driving under the influence and says that as part of the divorce, he has submitted to a substance abuse screening and drug test. Goodman said the tests have come back clean.

 

Reporter Caleb Heeringa can be reached at 392-6434. ext. 247, or cheeringa@isspress.com.

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Comments

21 Responses to “Estranged wife says state Rep. Roger Goodman drove stoned”

  1. Matt Loschen on February 27th, 2013 1:02 pm

    I have worked with Roger Goodman for many years. He is a careful and responsible person and an exemplary father. He loves his children far too much to endanger them, and respects the law too much to endanger his fellow citizens.

    A divorce is a tragic and trying time for a family. Accusations are often made that wouldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. I wish that the Sammamish Review would show some journalistic prudence, and not publish a story without corroborating evidence. If we are truly interested in protecting the Goodman’s children we should give them the privacy they deserve.

  2. Trent Latta on February 27th, 2013 1:38 pm

    There is no excuse of this publication to use admittedly uncorroborated, and unconfirmed private divorce proceeding allegations to attack the credentials of Roger Goodman, who is a state legislator that has proven, over and over, that he is a stalwart for public safety.

    In the article, Heeringa concedes the unsupported nature of Ms. Goodman’s statements: the article states that “Goodman seems to admit to driving after using marijuana” and that Goodman “seemingly admits” to Ms. Goodman’s allegations. It appears that Herringa is merely attempting a public spectacle over what is essentially an irrelevant, non-public issue.

    Besides, a person need not undergo divorce proceedings to understand that a soon-to-be-former spouse’s comments made in connection with the divorce are often regrettable and said merely in the heat of an emotionally trying time.

    The author and the publication should be ashamed for treating hazy, emotionally charged divorced proceeding statements as weapon to attack a legislator who is helping our state by making our streets safer, as so many organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, are publically acknowledged.

    Trent Latta
    TrentLatta@gmail.com

    The writer is chairman of the 45th District Democrats.

  3. Seth Buchanan on February 27th, 2013 2:13 pm

    As a firefighter I know that Roger has been a champion for public safety and for keeping drunk drivers off our roads. His work has helped prevent deaths and made our streets safer. Often people say things in a divorce that they don’t mean and Roger has said unequivocally that he did not drive while under the influence and the story should have ended there. For the Sammamish Review to run a story on this very private matter is very unfortunate and wrong.

  4. DragonTat2 on February 27th, 2013 2:25 pm

    “Estranged wife says…” speaks for itself.
    Estranged spouses say all sorts of things, file all sorts of accusations during a divorce.
    It appears here that “journalists” do the same.

  5. Shelley Kloba on February 27th, 2013 2:27 pm

    I am writing in support of Liv Grohn and Roger Goodman. I first met them thru PTA advocacy, and have come to know them better over the last few years. They are smart, hard-working people who love their children and work diligently to keep them from harm. Even now, as I meet with Roger through my role as Legislative Director for the Washington State PTA, he rarely fails to inject an amusing anecdote or update on his children’s activities into our conversations on policy. It is clear that what is best for his and for all children is a filter through which he makes decisions in the legislature.
    Anyone who goes into a life of public service knows that they and their family will make many sacrifices, including loss of privacy. This article crosses a line and enters into an area that is none of the public’s business. The breakup of a marriage often involves people saying things that they later wish that they hadn’t said. Divorce is painful enough for all involved without this added layer of difficulty imposed by this shoddy, lazy journalism. The allegations highlighted in this article are unsubstantiated, and there is no basis for them in any kind of official documentation. Had the reporter done his due diligence, he would see that his article is no more than a she said/he said piece, the kind of writing one would expect from a supermarket tabloid, not a quality hometown paper. The repercussions of such poor quality writing is that innocent children, who are experiencing a very difficult time in their family life, will potentially suffer from publicizing what should be a private matter. They are a wonderful family who should be left alone while they sort through this very tough situation.

  6. Eric Laliberte on February 27th, 2013 2:47 pm

    It is disappointing that this newspaper has adopted journalistic standards normally reserved for supermarket tabloids. That Mr. Heeringa chose to write, and the Reporter chose to publish, this story based solely on indefinite and unsubstantiated allegations against Rep. Goodman is both lazy and deplorable.

    Eric Laliberte
    EricRLaliberte@gmail.com

  7. Dale Fonk on February 27th, 2013 3:47 pm

    The article seems more fair than many of the previous comments suggest. Let’s remember, recreational use of marijuana only very recently became legal. For Roger Goodman to clearly own up to recreational use prior to that date is admission of criminal behavior. He is not just another guy in the community, he is an elected lawmaker. We, as his constituents, deserve public servants that are willing to obey the laws, regardless of their personal opinions of the particular law. He owes us a higher standard of duty than that.. For him to advocate changes in the law is absolutely his prerogative. For him to break the law because he does not like the law is not. And then legislators express their frustration that the public holds them in such low self esteem. Honestly, is it any wonder??

  8. Laura L. on February 27th, 2013 4:40 pm

    Of course, I have no idea if Rep. Goodman drove stoned. But neither, apparently, does the Sammamish Reveiw. All they have done is reprint the allegations made in a very emotional and personal matter without investigation or coroboration. Perhaps these are not the kind of allegations that can reasonably be coroborated or investigated. If that’s so, they are not fit to print. Otherwise, what’s the difference between journalism and printing gossip? It’s worth noting that the SR has not done Ms. Grohn or her children any favors here either. My heart goes out to the entire Goodman/Grohn family in this difficult time.

  9. Toby Nixon on February 27th, 2013 6:30 pm

    I have no personal knowledge that Roger has ever used pot, although he has been and continues to be an outspoken advocate for liberalization of marijuana laws (and I support him in that).

    On the other hand, I have never known Liv to tell a lie, and any commenter here who says, directly or by implication, that she committed perjury by lying in these documents, owes her an apology unless you have proof to the contrary.

    It’s one thing to complain about the SR printing this story, although since it is based on public records and it involves a public figure, they have every right to do so. After all, isn’t that exactly how Barack Obama won his seat in the U.S. Senate — by publicizing the content of “private” divorce proceedings of his opponent in the Illinois senate race? It’s quite another, however, to say that what Liv Grohn claimed in her declaration is false or exaggerated.

    None of us who know Roger and Liv should be publicly picking sides on this.

  10. Kirkland State Rep. Roger Goodman Reportedly Drove After Using Marijuana | Washington News Feed on February 27th, 2013 7:12 pm

    [...] For the Sammamish Review story, click here. [...]

  11. KL on February 27th, 2013 7:53 pm

    I have to say I am disgusted by Roger Goodman right now. Talking on the cell phone (I assume with an earpiece) is not illegal. Is he really saying it is much more dangerous than impaired driving? Really? As a long time supporter of MADD, I promise you we do not agree with this ridiculous statement.

    Given that Goodman clearly admitted to “past deceptive statements,” I do not know what he is lying about now. All I know is that I can’t trust him not to lie to me, and I voted for him! Never again. Full stop.

    I really wish I would have known about this before I cast my vote… that is for sure.

  12. Sahalee on February 27th, 2013 10:26 pm

    “accused Grohn of talking on a cell phone while driving, which he says is much more dangerous than impaired driving.”

    This is a beyond-embarrassing statement for Goodman to make. If you or I made such an ill-considered statement in public we’d be laughed out of the place. And deservedly so.
    .
    Is this who we really want, leading our district? There are others who would be well-qualified, and who avoid illegal substances as well.

    Perhaps Goodman needs to step out of public service, and instead focus on his family and health, which are far more precious things in life than running for office.

  13. Ian Jacobson on February 27th, 2013 10:45 pm

    The Onion displays higher journalistic standards than The Sammamish Review demonstrates in publishing unsubstantiated claims made in divorce proceedings. I believe the Review owes the community an apology.

  14. Sahalee on February 28th, 2013 1:48 am

    …and does anyone else see the incongruousness of Goodman being a champion for pot legalization, essentially admitting to smoking it, and then claiming to be giving up the habit?
    Which is it? Is smoking pot good or is it not good? Does he recommend it to Eastlake HS grads who come of age, as a pot proponent? If Goodman wanted it to be legal, why give it up now? Something is not adding up here.

  15. Barb in Redmond on February 28th, 2013 10:48 am

    Shame on the SR for publishing accusations from either side in a nasty divorce. Public figures are certainly subjected to a loss of privacy, but when a publication resorts to reporting the basic “he said/she said” conflicts that occur in such a heated and stressful situation, the publication has overstepped the line of decency and credibility. Anyone who has been through a divorce understands the wide range of emotions that exist. We the People need to step back and allow Roger and Liv some privacy and consideration during this painful time.

  16. Jason Rothkowitz on February 28th, 2013 11:34 am

    This is simply gossip mongering. This is obviously a personal matter. Can we please focus on the work that Roger is doing in the legislature right now? We can certalnly spend time looking at his voting record in the House for a sense of Roger’s character, but not this stuff. Divorces are devastating enough, let’s not make it worse by propagating gossip. In my work as an education advocate, I have always found Roger to be one of the most honest and approachable legislators we have.

  17. Wes Miller on February 28th, 2013 11:06 pm

    The author and the entire editorial staff of this publication should be ashamed of this article. To throw this family’s personal life out in the open in this way during a divorce, as political fodder, is repugnant.

  18. POL in Redmond on March 2nd, 2013 12:47 am

    As I read through this “article” I kept coming back to the same emotions – disappointment, anger, disgust. There really is no redeeming value in speculating on people’s personal lives and there is certainly the ability to harm. If you want to write an article about any legislator, write about way he votes on bills, or bills that he sponsors, or the way he works on his committees. Those are the things that he was elected to do and speak to how he represents his constituents. Taking the low road and repeating rumor adds no value and is, at best, a cheap and lazy substitution for actual journalism. What’s more, there seems to be no recognition or respect for the most innocent involved – their children. In this age of social media, speculation quickly becomes “fact” and is repeated incessantly. At what is likely the most vulnerable and emotionally distraught time in their young lives, do these children really need to be subjected to irresponsible adults speculating on their parent’s lives? Do they need to be subject to questions from others when they are likely trying to grapple with the only family life they’ve known being turned upside down? Is sensationalism worth that price?

  19. Ronald Braun on March 3rd, 2013 3:19 pm

    I find it interesting to see the defenders of Roger insist that the truth not be spoken. The truth was reporting what the exwife said accurately. The Sammamish Review does not need to follow Roger around to see when he decides to take the next toke. He has admitted partaking of marijuana in the past several times. To extend the logic forward is reasonable. There are folks that do not wish to hold him accountable and that is a shame.

  20. Arthur West on April 21st, 2013 9:04 pm

    It is disappointing to see another political scandal involving a democrat, especially when this very democrat is attempting to pass new DUI legislation to stiffen penalties for exactly what he apparently does himself. What is disturbing is the way this story has been censored from the big media. I am very surprised that both the Times and the Stranger have refused to run this story. I guess the democrats own and can censor the hacks at the Stranger as well as the Times. Looks like the media are bending over… backward to …greenwash this incident. Even with political pull to censor the news, the blogosphere will spell the end of this politico.

  21. Steve Dennett on May 8th, 2013 7:23 am

    How did he obtain the marijuana that he smoked in the past and how long is the past?

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