Dalia Dippolito a U.S. Supreme Court case? Justices to decide

The U.S. Supreme Court met Friday to decide whether to consider a number of cases from around the nation. Among them, a case that could challenge Arizona’s death penalty, whether criminal defendants can claim double jeopardy after overturned convictions — and Dalia Dippolito?

True, according to court records and attorneys for the former Boynton Beach newlywed, now serving a 16-year prison sentence for trying to have a hitman kill her then-husband in a 2009 Boynton Beach case that sparked three trials, a reality TV show, a book and millions of YouTube clicks on a video of her crying fake tears at a staged crime scene.

RELATED: Complete Dippolito case coverage

Though issues in Dippolito’s storied case included allegations of antifreeze-spiked Starbucks drinks, a fake hitman who offered a cash-back guarantee and a strategy during her first trial later dubbed “the balloon boy defense,” her attorneys believe a part of how her case unfolded challenged a much more sacred pillar of American law: the First Amendment.

In a petition filed with the country’s highest court before Thanksgiving, attorneys Greg Rosenfeld and Andrew Greenlee asked the justices to consider taking on their challenge of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley’s decision to issue a gag order between Dippolito’s second and third trials last year.

“Does the issuance of a pretrial gag order prohibiting criminal defense attorneys from disseminating political speech violate the First Amendment, where the extrajudicial comments giving rise to the gag order occurred more than four months prior to trial, and where the State presented no evidence of an imminent or substantial threat to the fairness of the trial?” reads the question Rosenfeld and Greenlee have asked the Supreme Court to consider.

According to court records, the nearly 70-page petition was distributed to the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices on Dec. 14 and added to the list of several hundred cases that they discussed Friday at one of their regularly scheduled conferences to review which cases they will take up. As of late Friday, it was unclear whether or not the high court had decided to hear Dippolito’s case.

On Dec. 7, John M. Klawikofsky, an attorney for the state of Florida, sent the court a waiver declining to respond to the claims.

Florida Department of Corrections records show that Dippolito is now being housed at the annex of the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala.

Her case began in 2009, when Boynton Beach Police arrested her at the end of an undercover investigation sparked by her lover, who warned police she was shopping for a hitman to kill her now ex-husband, Michael Dippolito. Two years later, a jury convicted her of solicitation to commit first-degree murder after her failed defense that she and Michael Dippolito contrived the murder-for-hire plot as a hoax to score their own reality television show.

But Greenlee was able to get that conviction and accompanying 20-year prison sentence overturned on appeal, making way for a second trial that ended with a hung jury in December 2016 after Dippolito’s defense team heaped heavy criticism on the Boynton Beach Police Department and accused it of manufacturing the case to impress a camera crew from the reality television show “COPS.”

Prosecutors afterwards claimed defense attorneys’ comments to the media could taint a subsequent jury pool, and Kelley issued a ruling limiting both prosecutors and defense attorneys to making public comment only on procedural matters in the case until the start of the third trial in June.

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