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Dalia Dippolito wants U.S. Supreme Court to review murder-for-hire case

Dalia Dippolito wants U.S. Supreme Court to review murder-for-hire case

Dalia Dippolito, whose murder-for-hire case got her international attention and a 16-year prison sentence, is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The former Boynton Beach woman's attorneys filed their request Tuesday with the nation's high court, three months after the Florida Supreme Court turned her down.

It's been more than 10 years since she was first accused of hiring a police officer posing as a hit man to kill her newlywed husband.

In Dippolito's new petition, she asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review a question that her lawyers say concerns the constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Specifically, her lawyers want the justices to decide whether her defense — a disputed claim of being set up by the police — should be presented for a jury's consideration.

2017 conviction
2017 conviction
Dalia Dippolito stands with her attorneys as she was found guilty in her third attempted murder trial Friday, June 16, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post/Pool) (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

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Previous court orders denying Dippolito that defense amount to an "infringement of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and guaranteed to criminal defendants since the founding of this Republic," wrote attorneys Greg Rosenfeld and Andrew Greenlee.

There have been three trials and various appeals in the case, which featured videos popular on YouTube and true-crime TV shows.

RELATED: Dalia Dippolito's conviction upheld; She won't get out until 2032 »
One clip is her meeting with the pretend hit man and telling him she was "like 5,000 percent sure" she wanted unsuspecting spouse Michael Dippolito to get two bullets to the head. Prosecutors said her motive was greed.

Officers staged a murder scene at the couple's home and filmed cops confronting her on the morning of Aug. 5, 2009, while her husband was safely out of harm's way.

"Listen, we had a report of a disturbance at your house, and there were shots fired," an officer informed Dalia Dippolito. "Is your husband Michael? OK, I'm sorry to tell you, ma'am, he's been killed."

Dippolito's lawyers have long argued that she was the victim of a frame job by law enforcement. They insisted the police concocted the murder-for-hire crime to impress the producers of the "COPS" television program.

But the trial court ruled that this defense, called "objective entrapment," could not go to the jury.

The law in some states, including Florida, is that there is no right to this kind of trial defense. Other states, such as Iowa and Pennsylvania, have ruled criminal defendants have a right for the jury to decide.

RELATED: Dalia Dippolito's murder-for-hire case won't be reviewed by Florida Supreme Court »
Dippolito's attorneys say her case is an opportunity for the high court to clarify the issue and resolve the conflict between the states.

They argue that Dippolito would be free today, if only the jury was allowed to consider misconduct allegations against the officers who investigated her.

"If the jury resolved those disputes in her favor, the outrageousness of the conduct of (Boynton Beach Police Department) in manufacturing a crime just so it could be shown on reality television would have all but compelled the dismissal of the charges against her," Rosenfeld and Greenlee wrote.

It's not easy to get a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which typically agrees to hear 100 to 150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year.

Dippolito, 37, already had one petition denied by the high court about two years ago.

Her lawyers then claimed they were unfairly silenced by a gag order before she was convicted of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Rosenfeld and Greenlee have said they wanted to prevent future judicial gag orders should Dippolito win a fourth trial. They also viewed their free speech fight as important for defense attorneys who want to speak with the media covering high-profile cases.

Dippolito, who gave birth to a son while on house arrest in 2016, continues to serve her sentence at a prison near Ocala, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. She's set to be released on June 5, 2032.
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Wednesday, 27 January 2021

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