Top Five WTF Florida Acquittals; or Why America Hates Us

Well, Florida, we really screwed that one up.

Regardless of where you come down on the Martin case, you have to admit that on Saturday night, the Sunshine State proved once again that judicial mechanics down here are just a little bit different. Just look at the street protests that have broken out all across the country over the last 48 hours -- a nation-wide WTF over how Florida handles the criminal justice system.

But this isn't the first time - and hell no it won't be the last - when a jury here has handed over a mind-blowing verdict. We've dipped into history for this highlight reel.

5. Jim Leyritz.

The Alleged Crime: In December 2007, the former New York Yankees catcher was involved in a Fort Lauderdale car crash that ended with the death of 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch. Leyritz had been out celebrating his birthday on the night in question, and later prosecutors would claim the retired athlete was drunk at the time. Three years later, a jury let Leyritz walk on a DUI manslaughter charge, although he was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

Jury Deliberation: 7 hours.

The Defense the Jury Bought: Veitch, a mother of two, was also drunk at the time of the accident, so let's just call it even.

4. Adam Kaufman The Alleged Crime: In 2012, the Aventura real estate developer went on trial for allegedly strangling his wife to death. A medical examiner stated that the victim's injuries were consistent with "mechanical asphyxiation."

Jury Deliberation: 8 hours.

The Defense the Jury Bought: The defense presented their own medical experts who testified Kaufman's wife could have died from an allergic reaction to spray tan.

3. William Kennedy Smith The Alleged Crime: Smith, a Camelot nephew, went on a toot with uncle Senator Ted Kennedy during an Easter weekend in 1991 in Palm Beach. After meeting a woman at a local bar, Smith allegedly raped her on the lawn of the family's local compound. At trial, he claimed the sex was consensual. But this wasn't the first time Smith was accused of overly aggressive bedroom tactics, but the judge denied the prosecution's effort to bring in three additional women to testify to that effect.

Jury Deliberation: 77 minutes.

The Defense the Jury Bought: Do you see that hair? Only some crazy bitch wouldn't want to have consensual sex with a Kennedy.

2. Casey Anthony

The Alleged Crime: *sigh* Jury Deliberation: 10 hours, 40 minutes.

The Defense the Jury Bought: What baby?

1. Ralph Lewis Wald, or The Most Florida-esque Dude Ever to Walk the Earth

The Alleged Crime: Wald, 70-year-old Vietnam vet with erectly dysfunction from Brandon, had only been married to his fifth wife for a couple months when he made a bad late night discovery last March. Getting up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, he found Johnna Lynn Flores on the living room floor with her former boyfriend, making the beast with two backs, as the Bard would put it (translation: doing it). Wald went back to his bedroom, got a gun, and put three bullets into 32-year-old Walter Conley.

Jury Deliberation: 2 hours.

The Defense the Jury Bought: Wald's lawyer dusted off the Stand Your Ground provision, arguing the old timer believed his wife was being raped by an intruder. They stayed together after the trial, because . . . why not?

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.