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Mom Blames the Media and the Victim At Dalia Dippolito Sentencing


The mother of Dalia Dippolito gave the judge an interesting — and unimaginative, boring, and tired — excuse for her daughter’s behavior.

Yep. You guessed it.

Blame the victim.

And, oh yeah:  blame the media, too. (You gotta throw the media under the bus just for good measure.)

Clearly, the media and the victim are the ones who really deserve the blame.


The words came in a letter Dippolito’s mother wrote to the court. Dippolito’s attorney read it into the record in what turned out to be a rambling four-hour and oftentimes heated sentencing hearing. (Watch the clip of the attorney reading some of the letter above.)

A Palm Beach County, Florida jury convicted Dalia Dippolito of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. Prosecutors successfully argued to the jury that she tried to hire a hitman to kill her now former husband, Mike Dippolito.


The ‘hitman’ turned out to be an undercover cop. Police had been recording their conversations with Dalia Dippolito. The recordings were played at trial.

And, oh yeah:  Dippolito’s lover, Mohamed Shihadeh, had testified that the attempted hitman hiring incident wasn’t the first time Dalia tried to kill Mike Dippolito. She also had tried to poison his drink at at least one other occasion. Others testified she had tried planting drugs in his car so that he’d get caught, accused of violating his parole, and carted back to jail.

But apparently it’s really the victim’s fault. And it’s the media’s fault.

Later echoing the mother’s written sentiments, defense attorneys say that the “media” had “driven her prosecution.”

They went on to say that she has “no shot at a normal life” and that she could go “nowhere” without people knowing and recognizing who she is.

Defense attorneys further argued that prosecutors only presented the judge with a part of Dippolito’s life. She’s also a loving daughter and mother, they argued at sentencing. She is also a first-time offender.

The judge refused to give Dalia Dippolito credit for the eight years she spent on house arrest. Her only credit at sentencing was 163 days for time served.

The state asked for a 30-year prison sentence. The defense asked for a two-year sentence.

The judge ultimately decided to send Dippolito to prison for 16 years. Though he provided no official credit for her years of house arrest, he did believe it was a factor in mitigating her sentence. The other mitigating factor was Dalia Dippolito’s lack of a criminal record.

Dippolito received a twenty-year sentence at the end of her first trial, but that original conviction was overturned on appeal. Her second trial ended in a mistrial. The third trial resulted in this sentencing proceeding. The judge at this proceeding disagreed with the prosecutor’s request for a 30-year sentence because he believed it unwise to go over the original sentence handed down by a different judge at Dippolito’s first trial.

Dippolito herself did not make a statement at sentencing.

[Editor’s Note:  This piece has been updated to provide Dippolito’s actual sentence and to provide additional detail from the sentencing hearing. The original piece was published in the middle of Dippolito’s four-hour hearing, but before the judge handed down the actual sentence.]

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Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."