In last month’s blog post, I began the story of Dalia Dippolito, a Boynton Beach woman who was convicted of the attempted contract killing of her husband, and then sentenced to twenty years in prison for the charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder with a firearm in 2011.
The incident was initiated after Boynton Beach Police were tipped off that Mrs. Dippolito was looking for someone to kill her husband Michael.
Mrs. Dippolito’s solicitation was offered to a person who turned out to be an undercover police officer, posing as a hitman who she paid $7000 to commit the crime.
The case gained national attention when Dippolito’s “take down” was filmed in totality by a crew from the popular TV show Cops.
The popularity of that episode which the show’s producers dedicated the entire time frame to turned out to be one of the reason’s she won an appeal in July 2014 when the 4th District Court of Appeals said the now convicted felon didn’t receive a fair trial as a result of the extensive media coverage. The court also cited that her former attorney was not allowed to question potential jurors individually in their relation to their individual cognizance of the case.
The case was appealed and in due course resulted in the higher court granting her a new trial.
In conclusion, it was determined by the court that several jurors were improperly exposed to a large amount of persuasive material which violated her right to a fair trial.
After her release on an appellate bond, Dippolito was placed under house arrest with a GPS ankle monitor and bail set at $500,000.
In October, 2014, a Palm Beach County Circuit Judge reduced her bail replacing it to the original $25,000 which was set before her conviction in 2011.
Her defense attorney criticized the Assistant State Attorney’s request for $250,000 bail as unreasonable due to the fact that Dippolito never violated any house arrest conditions imposed on her during the five year period since her arrest in 2009.
“It seems a little bit vindictive, with all due respect,” said her new lawyer who was hired for the next upcoming trial. “There’s just not an endless stream of money here.”
The Attorney for the State argued that the higher bail amount was warranted because Dippolito now posed a greater threat of fleeing the country, citing her original conviction and the formerly imposed twenty year prison sentence, which was based on the significance of the crime which was successfully adjudicated by the prosecution.
But the judge sided with the defense stating that “the house arrest and constant monitoring of Dippolito would keep her around.”
In October, Mrs. Dippolito’s defense team went as far to petition Florida’s Supreme Court in an effort to have the case thrown out based on their claims of police misconduct.
The high court dismissed the claim citing a 1975 ruling emphasizing that their client cannot continually quote the same objections she already made during her appeal.
That preceding decision notes that this “has long been the law,” naming 6 cases which met the same criteria since the late 1800’s.
The next attempt for resolution of this case ended when a six member jury advised the judge that they were hopelessly deadlocked 3-3, compelling him to declare a mistrial in December 2016.
The prosecution seemed to present a dialed back account of their original procedure which bought them a guilty verdict, solely using audio and video evidence from recorded conversations between Mrs. Dippolito and the undercover detective.
Mrs. Dippolito’s defense team stuck by a narrative that the newly-married couple was working in tandem to try to land their own reality TV show and that Boynton Beach Police obscured the case by looking for their own “fifteen minutes of fame” by allowing the TV crew to film the rendezvous between Mrs. Dippolito and the undercover detective.
The prosecution immediately announced they would retry the case while the defense basically announced they were ready for a rematch.
One defense attorney commented “This is a moral victory, but it’s not a complete victory… If they want to tell you, right now, that they want a round three, then bring it on. We’ll continue to send this message across the country.”
See Michael Dippolito’s reaction to the mistrial, by clicking on this link
After 7 years of house arrest, Mrs. Dippolito and her new defense team prepared for what was to become her final trial.
Although the prosecution still relied on the audio and video evidence from the TV show, they also returned to use other evidence which was presented at the first trial in 2011 which brought them the originally guilty verdict.
Calling Michael Dippolito to the stand, he testified that his newly-wed wife stole $100,000 from his bank account shortly after their February 2009 marriage began. He went on to say that drugs were planted in his vehicle before police were called alerting them to this which could have put him back in prison for at the least, a parole violation. Mr. Dippolito believed his wife was responsible and also testified that he met her after first hiring her for sex.
Michael Dippolito’s criminal record includes an arrest in Philadelphia for possession and manufacture with intent to deliver an unknown illegal substance in 1993 as well as organized fraud, unlicensed telemarketing, and grand theft, for running a foreign currency investment scam. He was sentenced to two years in state prison and twenty-eight years of probation, in addition to restitution.
The prosecution also read an account of highly-provocative lascivious text messages between Mrs. Dippolito and an ex-lover which were recorded in 2009 shortly after her marriage began. Other messages displayed her joy that she was able to persuade her husband to put their properties in her name only, but was frustrated after learning she still couldn’t sell the properties without his signature.
This time it only took the jury an hour and a half to deliberate before they returned a unanimous guilty verdict.
In a statement released through his lawyer, Michael Dippolito said. “Obviously the jury could see through the defense’s lies and antics… I am 5,000 percent happy to see that justice was served once again.”
The 5000 percent comment fits the ironic conclusion of Mrs. Dippolito’s recorded comment to the undercover detective when she was planning his murder, saying she was “5,000 percent sure” she wanted him killed.
In late July, Mrs. Dippolito was sentenced to sixteen years in prison, four years less than what was imposed after her original trial.
She was officially processed into the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala late last month to begin serving her prison sentence after a case that took over nine years to resolve.