William and Ann Marie Sands, the couple convicted in November of selling synthetic marijuana as potpourri, will spend the next 10 months in jail.
Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley handed down the sentence Wednesday at the end of a sentencing hearing which comes three months after they tried unsuccessfully to convince a jury that they followed their attorneys’ advice and didn’t believe they were breaking the law when they sold potpourri to head shops, packaged and sold under names like “Irie,” “Voodoo” and “Extreme.”
Aside from the jail term, the couple will serve three years of probation. Because the couple has two children, including a disabled adult child, Kelley said the couple can apply to serve their terms on house arrest or serve their terms separately.
Assistant State Attorney Aaron Papero asked Kelley for two consecutive year-long jail terms for the couple based on their convictions on four of the nine charges they originally faced. Kelley had thrown out two of those charges before jurors began deliberation.
Defense attorneys Jacob Noble and Michael Maher asked for four years of probation. If the judge wanted to incarcerate the couple, Noble argued, then he could allow them to serve time on house arrest.
“This was just a bad business decision,” Noble told Kelley.
Noble said the jury convicted the couple of a level 1 offense, which puts it on par with crimes like tampering with a lottery ticket, harming turtle eggs and bigamy.
But Papero presented the judge with studies on the perils of synthetic drugs, and added that the Sandses’ operation had sales to all 50 states.
“The effects that these substances have had on people, we’ll never know,” Papero said.
On the witness stand for the first time since her 2009 arrest, Dippolito – dressed in a camisole under a flowing pink sweater and dark pants – said things went wrong when she told Shihadeh during a meeting at a Chili’s restaurant that she didn’t want law enforcement involved in their ruse.
“He lifted his shirt and showed his gun,” she said. “He threatened me, he threatened my family.”
Dippolito said Shihadeh, under pressure from police, forced her to continue with the fake plot. Her attorneys are trying to have her case thrown out on claims the Boynton Beach Police Department committed egregious misconduct and violated Dippolito’s civil rights to catch the plot for an episode of the television show COPS.
But if this was all part of an acting project, where were all their scripts, Assistant State Attorney Craig Williams later asked Dippolito. Where were the notes from their rehearsals?
Dippolito said she didn’t keep any of those. The group had a production person who kept a lot of the notes, she said, and he committed suicide before her 2011 trial without any indication of what he’d done with their pre-production work.
Williams played video of a conversation between Dippolito and Shihadeh and asked her to detail why she is recorded giving Shihadeh directions to the townhouse she shared with Michael Dippolito if he had already been there several times to rehearse.
Dippolito answered most of the questions by repeating that it was all part of the script that she was following blindly.
Before Dippolito took the stand, her attorney Brian Claypool, questioned Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz and Public Information Officer Stephanie Slater.
ORIGINAL POST: In just a few short moments, the former Boynton Beach woman once convicted of trying to have her husband killed will take the stand in hopes of convincing a judge to throw out key evidence in the case against her.
Dalia Dippolito will be a witness Tuesday in her lawyers’ motion to dismiss video and audio recordings of her during the time she asked an undercover Boynton Beach police detective posing as a hitman to kill her then-husband, Michael.
Dippolito’s attorneys say Boynton Beach police officials engaged in gross misconduct and violated even their own policies after Dippolito’s sometime boyfriend, Mohamed Shihadeh, first warned them that Dippolito was looking for someone to kill her husband. A hearing on the matter began last month and continued Tuesday afternoon.
Police arrested Dippolito in 2009 after they staged a crime scene to fool her into thinking the hit had been carried out. Her reaction was recorded in a video that went viral.
A jury convicted her of solicitation to commit first degree murder in 2011 and she was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but an appeals court later overturned the case.
She is expected to stand trial in May.
Before Tuesday’s hearing, Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz issued the following statement regarding Dippolito’s claims:
“We stand behind the principled work our detectives did on this investigation. We trust in our State Attorney to successfully prosecute this case, and we are confident we have given his office sufficient evidence to meet the State’s burden. ”