A Palm Beach County, Florida judge has sentenced Dalia Dippolito to 16 years in prison.
Dippolito was convicted after a third jury trial on charges she hired a hitman to kill her former husband. The hitman was really an undercover cop.
Dippolito, a former escort, gave birth to a child which she was on house arrest between her trials.
Prosecutors flipped out about that fact at her sentencing hearing. Watch the blowup between the prosecution and the defense in the clip above.
The state accused Dippolito of being a “master manipulator” and of faking a medical issue while on house arrest. The medical issue turned out to be a pregnancy. The state claims Dippolito only got pregnant as a ploy to beg for leniency from the judge, assuming she should she be convicted again.
The defense snapped right back, saying that Dippolito can have sex with whomever she wants and that she has a constitutional right to have children.
The judge made it clear that the child did not play any role in his decision on Dippolito’s sentence. However, the judge did acknowledge that both arguments were valid: that Dippolito’s decision to have a baby could have been to manipulate the court’s sentence, or that it could have been because she had a genuine interest in being a mother.
The judge said the maximum possible sentence of 30 years needed to be dialed back to 20 years because that was the original sentence handed down at Dippolito’s first trial. (Dippolito’s first conviction was overturned on appeal. A second trial resulted in a mistrial. She was sentenced today after a third trial resulted in a conviction.)
“I don’t believe law enforcement should be about theater,” the judge said, but disagreed with a defense assertion that the actions of the investigating police department should result in a reduced sentence. During several of Dippolito’s trials, the defense argued that Dippolito was ensnared by a police department anxious to look good on the television show Cops. “The evidence supports the conclusion” that Dippolito wanted her husband killed, the judge said; he believed that the actions of the police investigators probably saved the life of Dippolito’s ex-husband.
The judge ultimately cut time off Dippolito’s sentence because she had no prior record and because she had been on house arrest for eight years. The judge used the house arrest as a mitigating factor in her sentence; however, he said that she would receive no official credit for time served on house arrest to counteract her prison sentence.
[Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to provide more detail about the investigating police department’s involvement in the television series Cops. It has also been corrected due to a wording error in the original regarding the outcome of Dippolito’s first trial.]