In what will be Dalia Dippolito’s final attempt to win a fourth trial in a bizarre 2009 plot to hire a hitman to murder her husband, the Boynton Beach woman is taking her long-running case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation’s high court is Dippolito’s last stop after the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to consider her claims that she was wrongfully convicted in 2017 of solicitation of murder and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The Florida Supreme Court offered no specific reason for rejecting her appeal.
Attorney Greg Rosenfeld, who represented Dippolito in two of her three trials, said he isn’t giving up.
"While we are disappointed that the Florida Supreme Court declined to accept jurisdiction, Andrew Greenlee and I look forward to continuing our pursuit of justice for Ms. Dippolito," he said, referring to another lawyer who is representing the 36-year-old who had a baby while on house arrest. "We intend on bringing the case to the Supreme Court of the United States."
Like the Florida Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court doesn’t have to hear Dippolito’s appeal. It receives nearly 8,000 petitions each term and agrees to consider about 80 of them, according to the respected SCOTUS blog.
It will be the second time Rosenfeld and Greenlee have tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the case that attracted national attention after a video of Dippolito reacting to the fake news of her husband’s death went viral.
The Boynton Beach Police Department posted the video online after one of it officers convinced Dippolito he was a hitman and offered to kill her husband while she was at the gym. The agency invited a crew from the TV show, Cops, along when officers falsely told Dippolito that her husband, Michael, had been murdered.
After her 2011 conviction was thrown out because care wasn’t taken to assure potential jurors didn’t know about key facts of the case, Rosenfeld focused on the behavior of Boynton cops.
The strategy worked in a 2016, The jury deadlocked, setting the stage for a third trial.
During that 2017 trial, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley rejected Rosenfeld’s claims that Dippolito was entrapped by police. The 4th District Court of Appeal upheld Kelley’s ruling, saying the murder-for-hire plot was hatched long before Boynton cops or the TV show got involved.
Rosenfeld said he would revive the same argument when he files the appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. The jury — not Kelley — should have decided whether police lured Dippolito into the murder plot as part of a ploy to have the department featured on a TV show, he said in arguments before the Florida Supreme Court.
Not allowing Dippolito to use entrapment as a defense violated her constitutional right to a fair trial, he said.
In 2018, shortly after Dippolito began serving her sentence, Rosenfeld and Greenlee asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out her conviction on First Amendment grounds. Kelley, they said, should not have imposed a gag order on attorneys involved in the case. The high court declined to hear their claims.
Dippolito is in the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala. Her tentative release date is July 2032.