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November 19, 2010

Jury deliberations underway in Jim Leyritz DUI manslaughter trial

Posted: 10:29 AM ET

Ft. Lauderdale, FLJurors began deliberating the fate of ex-Yankee James Leyritz on Thursday who faces a single count of DUI manslaughter after the judge tossed out a second DUI manslaughter concluding that there was insufficient evidence for it to be considered by the jury.

“I’m granting the motion for acquittal on count one,” said Judge Marc Gold. “As to what I’ve considered, it was the video presented to us, as far as those tests, if pass requires perfection; the majority of the people in this building would fail.”

The decision brought the former pro baseball player to tears as he wept for several minutes while the judge made his announcement and his attorney continued his argument that the case against Leyritz be dismissed.

The judge rejected the defense’s motion to toss out a second count of DUI manslaughter, based on Leyritz’s unlawful blood alcohol level. 

Prosecutor Stefanie Newman urged the jury to find Leyritz guilty of the charge as evidenced by his BAC reading of .14 three hours after the crash.

Newman asked jurors to recall the testimony of defense expert Dr. Stefan Rose who testified that Leyritz told him he had seven drinks shortly before the crash. She said her expert Dr. Harold Schueler testified that Leyritz’s BAC at the time of the crash was .196, and that it could have been lower, but not lower than the legal limit of .08.

Newman told the jury that Leyritz “caused or contributed” to the death of Fredia Veitch because he was clearly impaired. She asked the jury to recall that Bruce Barger initially told police that Leyritz’s light had turned red.  And while he testified on the witness stand that he did not recall ever seeing the light turn red, Newman said Barger was still their best witness.

“The problem is Jim Leyritz didn’t see the light, he was looking down reaching for something. It took his passenger to get his attention,” said Newman. “If Jim Leyritz’s motor skills were not impaired he could have avoided this accident. He had four seconds of yellow to apply his brakes.”

The defense also referenced the yellow light’s cycle, but used it to question the State’s other traffic light witness, Garth Henry who said he saw Leyritz’s light turn red.

The defense computed 1.4 seconds for Leyritz’s car to reach the point of impact. Another second to account for the screech or the yawing that occurred after impact, and another second for the bang-Veitch’s car to hit the pole.

“We’re over three plus seconds,” said Defense Attorney David Bogenschutz, who asked the jury to recall that Henry said he was drawn by the sound of the screech and the bang. “Anyone who has been part of an accident knows when you hear a bang you look at it…he’s looking at it 2.5 seconds after the collision.”

Bogenschutz argued that Leyritz’s blood alcohol reading was unreliable.

“We have the wrong kit, wrong tubes, wrong place, wrong time,” said Bogenschutz who argued that the jury could not rely on the BAC level reported by the State. 

He argued that the wrong blood draw kit was used, so vials used to collect Leyritz’s blood did not contain the recommended amount of chemical to keep the blood from fermenting and releasing alcohol. Once the blood was drawn the vials were not properly inverted and refrigerated immediately.

He also criticized the State’s handling of the videotape evidence that his defense expert relied on to pinpoint the time of the accident. He described for the jury how the discovery of the video by a fellow law enforcement officer was ignored by lead investigator Jill Hirsch, ultimately causing the original video to be lost.

“It is my opinion that it is the height of gall to destroy the reliability of the video and then hire an expert to say that you can’t rely on it,” said Bogenschutz. “It’s like someone killing their father, then saying don’t execute me because I’m and orphan.”

A copy of the video was turned over to the defense nearly two years after the accident and only pursuant to public records, but by then the original data had been overwritten. Though it was inadvertent, the judge found evidence of a discovery violation, and agreed to instruct the jurors to give it what weight they deemed fit, including inferring that the original could have been exculpatory for the defendant.

Bogenschutz told the jury that if they found reasonable doubt they had to find his client not guilty.

“When you’re standing there on a street corner and a breeze gives you the chill, you can’t see it but you can feel it,” he said. “That’s what’s blowing through this case. If you have reasonable doubt, you report it as such.”

Stay with In Session for verdict watch of Florida v. Jim Leyritz!

-Grace Wong, In Session Senior Field Producer

Filed under: Trial Updates • Trials • Verdict Watch


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jacky payne   November 19th, 2010 10:52 am ET

Too many points are being left out that the jury won't get to hear about the deceased in this case. How would the jury feel if they convict the defendant,give him jail time then after the case find out that the deceased has a record of driving without lights on,dui,speeding and it's obvious from testimony and cell records that she was on her phone?! I believe she is as guilty of causing her own death as she was of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the defendant should walk!!!!


Joan   November 19th, 2010 10:53 am ET

Jim Leyritz should be found "NOT GUILTY"! This case is a true definition of "Accident". There are no winners, only loss.Fredia Veitch was 99% wrong and further persicution of Mr. Leyritz would be the true definition of a inocent persicuted man.


John Bryant   November 19th, 2010 10:57 am ET

If the Leyritz vehicle was seen entering the intersection as the light turned red, then this means that the other light was red up until that point. There is almost always a 1-2 second delay from colors changing on red lights. This means to me that the other vehicle had a red light and no attempt to slow down or stop was done by that vehicle
I hope the jury studies the evidence and believable witnesses to determine that this was truly an accident. Sorry alcohol was involved in any case.


Barb   November 19th, 2010 11:01 am ET

He should be found not guilty of manslaughter. Only of A DUI. There is not enough proof!


David   November 19th, 2010 11:03 am ET

Here is my take I had Leyritz Not Guilty based on Prosecutions witness that said Leyritz light was going from Yellow to Red. Now I am not so certain since the defense brought the Toxicologist testifying that in order for Jim Leyritz to be at a .14 at six in the morning he had to have had 9 shots by 3 in the morning, here is a guy that I see now that was drinking up until less than a half hour prior to the accident, gets in a car and knowingly drives while he has been drinking, whether he is a his gastro clearance was diminished is inconsequential now because he knowingly operated a motor vehicle while drinking at least 3 shots prior. GUILTY on both charges. The Defense should have just rested on the Prosecution witness testimony and he would have been found guilty of DUI.


Christina VanWey   November 19th, 2010 11:03 am ET

This case is exactly why I would never want to be juror,that jury should be allowed to know what we know,about the victom..in my opinion she killed herself.I absolutely feel bad for the family she chose to leave behind,
but for Jim to be prosecuted for this tradgedy is a waste of time and money.If I was on this jury..he would WALK.


karen cummings   November 19th, 2010 11:04 am ET

They fail to say that the female driver was drunk,on cell phone no seat belt no headlights. Just because she is dead does not mean it wasn't her fault. put the blame were it is due.


Angela   November 19th, 2010 11:07 am ET

Leyritz Case:

I think knowing the victim was also "intoxicated" or drinking or texting while driving are important points for the jury in making a decision. The judge said it could not be admitted, why? Does Florida have text while driving law?


Maryjoy   November 19th, 2010 11:09 am ET

It seems that Jim Leyritz is being prosecuted because Fredia Veitch died in this accident. The case has so much reasonable doubt that I feel there is no way to convict on the evidence presented. She is the one that seems to have gone through the red light not to mention she was also WAY above the legal limit also. This was a horrible accident that alcohol probably impaired both drivers


CJ Maclin   November 19th, 2010 11:15 am ET

NOT GUILTY!!

Ms. Veitch was texting/talking on cell while driving. Mr. Leyritz paid the family, not because of guilt, but because he is a decent man, with 3 children of his own.

What about the victim's BAC? The evidence presented by the State, did not show resonable doubt.

There are no winners in this.


Michelle   November 19th, 2010 11:31 am ET

Although Mr. Leyritz did not do the breathalizer at the scene, HE did not cause the blood draw to take three hours. The state had an obligation to do the blood draw within a more reasonable time. Again, that's their fault.
Once the prosecutor was aware even just that fact(among so many others), she should have been precluded from bringing charges.
In my view, it is the accident investigator who is most 'gaulling' in this entire debacle. She weilded the power, she did whatever she wanted. I'd be interested to read her actual report and what factors she identified to support her determination of fault. Bet it's flimsy or downright twisted.


Penny   November 19th, 2010 11:35 am ET

This is all silly. A waste of the taxpayers money! No need for all this when the fact is NOBODY can prove the light was red! If the state wants to prosecute these kinds of cases they need to spend a couple of bucks putting cameras at intersections.


amy   November 19th, 2010 11:59 am ET

my Dad died in a DUI accident and I was wanting to find something to convict Jim Leyritz but I see nothing that says his guily..In my opinion Jim Leyritz is NOT GUILTY


Bob   November 19th, 2010 12:08 pm ET

Not Guilty


Brian McCarthy   November 19th, 2010 12:23 pm ET

Does Mr. Leyretz's agreement to settle with the victim's family for 'Wrongful Death' made known to the jury before the trial? If so, wouldn't this be interprited by the jury as "An Admission of Guilt and Responsibility for the Accident"?


Jody   November 19th, 2010 12:34 pm ET

It seems to me that an awfully lot of information has been left out about the woman who died.
If I were a juror and found out later that there was a possibility that she did not have headlights on, was texting, was loaded and dealing with a whole lot of other problems I would feel totally and completely violated by the judicial system that I had volunteered my time to help uphold the law


Kimberly Garrett   November 19th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

I don't see how any reasonable person who understands their duty to follow the law could find Jim Leyritz guilty. Besides the fact that there is a tremendous amount of reasonable doubt, I just don't believe he was drunk. The state has done an abominable job of proving their caseand comes across as mean spirited and vindictive. NOT GUILTY pf ANYTHING!


Mitzy   November 19th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

Well, I hope the jury can see through the performance of Leyritz's lawyer. He is as arrogant as his client and hopefully he is miserable every night when he lays his head down. The interview with Leyritz's mother had her saying Jim did this all the time – drank and drive. Maybe he is an alcoholic or maybe a family member is an alcoholic and it just seems normal and right in their heads. Maybe it is time for a reality check. I hope they convict him in some manner to hopefully send the message that he needs to grow up and stop this ignorant behavior.


Barbara   November 19th, 2010 1:15 pm ET

I believe he is guilty of dui manslaughter. Awoman has lost her lifeChildren are left whout a mother if it was turned around the other way she wpuld be in jailby now, if you have monet you can get away with any thing.


Renee   November 19th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

Both Leyritz and Veitch are responsible for this tragedy. They both chose to drive drunk and suffered the consequences. I don't care what color the traffic lights were, two wrongs do not make a right.


Beth   November 19th, 2010 1:52 pm ET

Not guilty. I feel for both family's in this case but, I believe that that Fredia was the one who ran the red light. I think that Jim should be punished for drinking and driving. We might not be sure of the BAC but, he was for sure drinking.


TAS   November 19th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Not Guilty due to reasonable doubt. All the evidence should have been brought out on both sides. My condolences to the family of the deceased, but she was also at fault. A seat belt would have saved her life, IT'S THE LAW... Sad for everyone involved.


Kim   November 19th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

It is so amazing that people can watch the same trial (maybe not seeing all the witness testimony) but have such different opinions! I think that even if you personally believe that JL is guilty of DUI manslaughter, it was not proven by the state. Nowhere near proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


Kim   November 19th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

Whose testimony brought out the divorce papers in FV's car and her being involved in an extramarital affair?


Michelle   November 19th, 2010 2:46 pm ET

To me, even as a layperson, Jim Leyritz is showing classic symptoms of clinical deprssion and even post trauma street. Aside from breaking down, several mornings especially earlier this week, his was very flat showing no emotion. He had no affect at all, looked numb and exhausted.
Your out on your birthday(how many of us have been there), you stay a little longer at the end of the night when a couple fans want to share shots for you birthday. You leave believing you'll be home shortly, maybe if you had those shots sooner you wouldn't have driven. Crash, you're in a car accident, now you're told the other driver has died. You're mind is screaming. Now you're being arrested. Headlines, really nasty headlines,loose your job.
Just imagine these thought fragments bumping and clanging around in your mind. Month after month, now year after year. Try to hold yourself together, be the tough but personable sports figure.
No, it's not going to hold up. Nope, can't do it.


Sandra Wilbanks   November 19th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Not Guilty!!!This man should have never even been charged,not with anything!The jurors should have been able to hear EVERYTHING,not just part of the evidence!
They should have been able to hear that Mrs.Veitch was drinking and driving,texting and driving and not wearing her seat belt.I am very sorry that those children lost their mother but why should Mr.Leyritz be charged when the evidence shows that she was at fault.


shelby   November 19th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

Not Guilty on all charges


Dakota Leyritz   November 19th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

not guilty hopefully dad


James Hankins   November 19th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

This is a case that should never have been done; we as the public received one side of the case of how a ex-baseball player was tying to get over. In-Session revealed the horrors that are hidden in a court case; and how we allowed the dead to not answers for their questional behavior before, during, and after the accident.
All facts should be allowed in especially on this case, so that our children see that drinking and driving, slowing down, and wearing a seatbelt may save not only your life but lives of the other individual in a motor vehicle accident.


Kathleen   November 19th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Reasonable Doubt, but Jim Leyrirtz was wrong to be driving under the influence and should be charged with DUI and community service as well as probation for DUI, Its too late for Fredia she was wrong by DUI as well but she is gone. Drinking and driving does not mix!!!!


tina   November 19th, 2010 3:18 pm ET

not guilty both should be brought out .she was at fault to just like him. seat belt seat belt seat belt saves lifes


Rondi   November 19th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

Definite NOT Guilty on ALL counts!!!!!!!


Shelia   November 19th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

NOT GUILTY due to reasonable doubt..
All the evidence should have been presented to the jury.
Mrs. Veitch was also drinking, talking and or texting on her cell phone and not wearing a seatbelt. In California, you are breaking the law .
Mr. Leyritz and Mrs. Veitch were both drinking, but I guess her death is her sentence.. As far as Mr. Leyritz paying the family, that is because he is a father himself and a decent man, and NOT an admission of GUILT.


Rondi   November 19th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

I need to add that if he is found guilty of ANY count, the jury is not looking at the actual evidence they are supposed to consider....which corrupts the justice system, so I hope they do what they are instructed by law to do.


Jen   November 19th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

Because both parties had been drinking the BAC should not be considered a factor in the manslaughter portion of the case. This accident was the result of a traffic violation..someone ran a red light..period. We DO NOT know who it was so by that point alone he needs to be found NOT GUILTY. It is not the responsibility of our court system to carry out revenge for the victims children because we feel sorry for them, the laws and rights in the Constitution apply to all Americans and nowhere does it state that sympathy over rules these laws and rights.


Ryan   November 19th, 2010 3:40 pm ET

So tired of hearing about there being a dead person involved and somebody should pay. If she contributed to her death and Leyritz is not 100% responsible then he should be found not guilty. I'm sorry for the loss but I thought in this country you are innocent until proven guilty but that is never the case. All we ever do is judge a situation for what it appears. I think if there is enough reasonable doubt, then he should walk. I thought our justice system was built to give everyone the right to trial to be seen as innocent and burden lays on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If our country really functioned that way, then there would be no wrongly convicted going to prison only to be let go later if at all. Sure some guilty might go free but i would much rather for a guilty man to go free than an innocent man to spend one day in jail.


Mary Ann Sandoval   November 19th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

Not Guilty, the prosecutor did not prove her case in any of the charges. My opinion is that they wasted a lot of money time and put the families through 3 years of anguish. The prosecutor thought that just because he was a World Series Hero that she could make a name for herself, she could have gotten a guilty verdict on DUI, she wanted more. Not Guilty.


Pam Phlippeau   November 19th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

I know that Mike Brooks keeps talking about how if the light was green for Friedia, then the pedestrians would not have had to push the button to get the walk sign. I don't know how Floria is, but in Michigan whether the light is green or red, you still have to push the button, because you are only allowed to cross when the light first changes to green. You are not allowed to cross in the middle of a light. Because if you cross in the middle of a green light, you could be hit by cars turning left in front of you.

Pam Phlippeau, Plymouth Mi.


Christine Speers   November 19th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

As the widow of a man who was killed by a Drunk Driver, I am probably biased in my opinion. However, while I agree the victim was also at fault for driving under the influence, I do think that the Prosecutor proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Leyritz was impaired. Too impaired to be driving. I hope and pray that the jury does find him guilty. No, it won't bring back the victim. But maybe, just maybe, it might make more people reconsider their decision when it comes to drinking and driving. If there are no consequences for criminal actions, then what is the point in having any laws.


Dottie Burns   November 19th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

ABSOLUTELY INNOCENT
The prosecution has not proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt
and there is to much conflicting testimony to make this man pay.
The victims blood alcohol level and the fact that she was not wearing a seatbelt is probmatic in itself but to be texting on a cell phone also
made the accident just as much her fault.


Paula Santos   November 19th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

I believe knowing the facts I do that the Jury isn't privey to all the evidence and that he is not guilty for the accident. I would however find him guilty on a DUI as yes he had many drinks that may not of impaired his judgement, but brought him above the legal limit. I can't believe the Jury is still out on this matter. That troubles me given the fact that the there is so much doubt in this case.


andrew   November 19th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

jim leyritz is not guilty of DUI or DUI manslaughter. the state of florida needs to do a better job. everyone talks about the stress of fredia but noone talks about the stress of jim and his family. jim leyritz is innocent. this is another case where the court system tries to put an innocent man behind bars.


Brenda W.   November 19th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

This case should have never been brought to trial. Jim may have been drinking but I do not beleive he was drunk. The defense witnesses proved that. Fredia was drunk, texting, speeding,and was possibly driving without lights. The situation with the video does not make a difference on the time she left the bar. The witnesses told it and her cell phone records. Jim should be found innocent of all charges. If you listen to the prosecuter's own witness he said that Jim's light was yellow turning red. If that's the case she could not have had a green light. The witness could not have been looking at the collison and the light at the same time. Although I feel bad that someone lost their life this was clearly her own fault. I think her family should ask theirselves why they did not try to keep her from driving drunk, speeding, and running red lights, since she admitted that in her journal. Sorry for the family but Jim L. should not have to pay for her bad decisions.


Gary   November 19th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

Not Guilty...without a doubt!!! If anyone has been watching this trial from the beginning can see it was only a tragic accident. Even if Jim Leyritz had been going through the light cycle as it was turning red he still hit Mrs. Veitch's car/Suv on the tail end of her automobile. This would mean that she had already ran her red light. No way she could have been stopped at the light and/or driving up to the light waiting for it to turn green before entering through the crossing. Think about it!!!!


Ron   November 19th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

As a police officer and homicide investigator, this trial is a joke, and the prosecution mainly the lead prosecutor has blown her case (which in my opinion didnt have one to begin with) and made a mockery of the true judicial system, Mr Leyritz at least has an awesome appeal if he is wrongly convicted by not allowing the jury ALL the facts...and as I said as a police officer who takes DUI suspects off the street everyday, first of all I would be at least suspended for the terrible investigation as well as in observance of the taped tests would not have made the arrest (dont throw stones , I was not there and do not hav all the facts) hmmm just as the jury dosent... anyhow enough rambling, he definitely has not been proven guilty by any stretch of a "reasonable doubt


frank   November 19th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

Jim Leyritz should be found guilty of DUI only.It is sad that a persons fate is being handled in this manner. At the very least Fredia Veitch is guilty of contributory negligence and DUI......The way the jury got to hear evidence is that basically she was on her way home from work and called or texted her "soon to be ex", while supposedly going to hook up with her boy friend. Not to mention she was plastered based on her BAC and body weight and still had no problem driving and without a seatbelt....The jury should have been made aware of ALL the facts of both parties and not allowed to soley make a decision on Jim's actions alone.....Look at the facts about her, when she was slamming shots and drinks and decided to drive without a seat belt and then to compound it by using her phone.....was SHE thinking about her children or just worried about getting to her new man? Like I said in the beginning, Jim Leyritz should be foung guilty of DUI, but not manslaughter. Hell the prosecution, still at this point, has NO clear evidence of Jim running any light. That allow is a qualifier per both sides........"reasonable dout", per Florida law.


Carol   November 19th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

This man has been put on a cross long enough now it is time to take him down.

He might have been drunk but he had on his seat belt and so did his passenger so he lived to talk about it but she did not but she rolled over and because she didn't have on the seat belt and that is why she was killed.

I think she did it on purpose because she was ill and she knew she didn't have much more time and the family didn't have money and it was one way to get money and she made sure she was good and drunk.


Ed   November 19th, 2010 4:52 pm ET

Her being drunk, texting, driving with her lights off, and not wearing her seat belt are irrelevant if he ran the red light. She could have been driving blindfolded, if the cause of the accident was his driving through a red light, he is guilty. If she ran the light, she caused her own death. Even if he was sober, if he ran the light, he is guilty of manslaughter.


rob   November 19th, 2010 5:04 pm ET

Can't believe they didn't return a verdict today ( which I predict not guilty). I bet it's that one woman juror that is a miss. goody two shoes that does not drink or smoke holding things up. The rest are men that either had a DUI or had family killed due to it. Veitch ran a red while texting but she's not alive to be cross examined, not Leyrits fault. He's already paid restitution-which I don't think he should have either. The problem is that he was drinking and that alone causes suspicion no matter who's at fault in todays society, but that does not make it right to convict on that alone


Gerry   November 19th, 2010 5:07 pm ET

Guilty Guilty Guilty I can't beive you people got suckered in by all that lawyer bullshit......Also if you look at the vedio that the def. said was her car what happened to the car that was in front of her went thur the green light in front of the poor lady..that he KILLED


Cathryn Lea   November 19th, 2010 5:07 pm ET

My sincere sympathy to Fredia Veitch family for their loss. This case should be a wake up call for everyone. Prosecutors overcharge certain suspects. Investigators are sloppy and lie on the stand. Labs make mistakes. Judges make arbitrary decisions that take justice out of the courtroom. Heaven forbid if any of us are arrested for a crime. We may never know what is going on in the background.


Katy- Northern KY   November 19th, 2010 5:13 pm ET

If her condition wasn't known, everyone would find him guilty.He broke the law drinking and driving, just because the victim did too, does not make him automatically innocent! What are you people thinking? Also, was the case brought before a grand jury for indictment? If so, a jury of his peers felt there was sufficent evidence to indict him.


Donna   November 19th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

Not Guilty, but it is Florida, so only heaven knows!


Katy- Northern KY   November 19th, 2010 5:20 pm ET

Also, if I were on the jury and learned after convicting him the victim was also drunk, I would not be upset. He still broke the law. Although I do not believe he caused her death neccassarily, he did in fact contribute to it. I don't think he should get 15 yrs in prison or not even any time in jail. The conviction alone would be enough in my eyes.


Enoch   November 19th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

I clearly believe he's not guilty. Prosecution did not prove their case.


nancy   November 19th, 2010 5:28 pm ET

I feel very sorry for the deceased family but she was definetly in the wrong. She had NO seatbelt on and drunk and a known history of of driving drunk. Its sad she didnt think of her child while on the phone texing and drunk driving. We all make mistakes but this kind cant be changed. It is also not being told to the jury the whole story. I think that Jim was not as intoxicated as much as the prosecutor is trying to make him. He was more shaken up someone died in this ACCIDENT!!! That is what it was he didnt set out to do this. NOT GUILTY!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kara   November 19th, 2010 6:13 pm ET

NOT GUILTY. The prosecution did not prove her case. There is still reasonable doubt. We are not certain of what color the light was and therefore are unable to decide who ran the light. We also are not certain of Mr. Leyritz's BAC at the time of the crash.


traci   November 19th, 2010 6:17 pm ET

i feel horrible for both families. this is a tragedy that could have been avoided. both parties are equally responsible for contributing to the accident. the sad thing is, one person lost their life. mr. leyritz is guilty of driving under the influence, but so was mrs. veitch. the manslaughter part is what has me confused. if she hadn't died, would this trial have had both of them as defendants? they were both dui and they BOTH contributed to the accident. that right there is the key word, ACCIDENT. why isn't everyone involved in an accident where one person loses their life, charged with manslaughter? someone's actions contributed or caused the accident, whether alcohol was involved or not. i think the prosecutor or district attorney made a poor decision in trying mr. leyritz for manslaughter.


Jeff Y   November 19th, 2010 6:19 pm ET

I cannot believe ANY of the six jurors, let alone three, are willing to convict Leyritz of the evidence, or lack of, that the prosecution presented! Unbelieveable!!!!!


Betty   November 19th, 2010 6:19 pm ET

Not guilty on all accounts ! Thats why its called an accident.


Betty   November 19th, 2010 6:22 pm ET

Not guilty on all accounts ! Tha's why its called an accident.


John   November 19th, 2010 6:27 pm ET

On this case I would vote Not Guilty. Not Guilty is not a decision of innocent, just that guilt was not proven in my book. Prosecutor Stefanie Newman needs to review how to present evidence. It's like she takes the first thought as the truth. Both parties had been drinking, but it looks like the state was more determined to win, rather then show what the truth was. More and more the cases I've observed appear to be this way. "Public" in front of the lawyers name seems to mean most times not the best law, both prosecutor or defense.

People need to learn that even a $50 cab ride is better than someone dying, trials and jail. I know it took me a couple of thumps on the head to learn. Sober for 23 years and today.


wanda   November 19th, 2010 6:29 pm ET

I would have to say "Not Guilty" on the manslaughter, but 'GUILTY" ON THE SIMPLE, "DUI", As far as the victim, it is a tragedy that she lost her life, but if she were such a dedicated wife and mother, why was she out drinking, at a bar, and not home with her family. Her husband was already upset with her, wanting to know when she was coming home, that is where she should have been , instead she chose to go out partying, and get intoxicated, not put on her seat belt, and text while driving. Unfortunately no one really wins in this case, but I think it could have been settled out of court, and saved the tax payers a lot of money.


billy downey   November 19th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

There is reasonable doubt on all charges. not guilty


JOSEPH   November 19th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

this is a trial where both drivers shouldnt been on the road.
the damage does look bad enough to kill someone but it did because of no seatbelt, if she had seat belt the would be having dui trial for both not a manslaughter trial.


mouse   November 19th, 2010 6:37 pm ET

Well if the state had put on a case that made any since at all then maybe a conviction. She lost the case in my eyes, could you screw up anymore than she did. Her closing arugument was all over the place even the judge had to step in and stop her a few times. You think she could finish a sentence without having to look down at that paper or just keep the same thought going from start to finish. That would have been good, and eaiser to listen to.


Pam   November 19th, 2010 6:42 pm ET

The Prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm a prosecution leaning gal. IMHO, they have not only failed to prove anything, they have made me sympathetic to the accused. My heart aches for the victem's family but I have a real problem with withheld factsthat could and should have been made known to the jury. The truth. THE WHOLE TRUTH. And nothing but the truth.
ps: Can anyone tell me how to get a verdict alert on my IPHONE. I'm over 50 and electronically handicapped.


NeNe   November 19th, 2010 6:48 pm ET

I agree with all the NOT GUILTY people out there. This was an unfortunate accident. I agree with the others, the Jury should've heard that the victim was intoxicated and about her driving record. I don't think it's fair to just convict him because someone died in the accident. There is too much reasonable doubt in this case.


jebbie kanfer   November 19th, 2010 7:08 pm ET

Neither of these people belonged on the road however had ms. Vietch had on a seat belt there would be no case. She was definitely over the limit possibly on the phone and had a blood alcohol twice the legal limit. I think she contributed more to the accident and there is no proof that he was over the limit. I think based on the law he is not guilty. One final note one drink is too many for driving.


Tom Latzke   November 19th, 2010 7:33 pm ET

It's a no brainer in the Leyritz case. She was intoxicated and speeding, not to mention texting while driving. She was basically commiting suicide. Let the man go home and have supper with his children.My condolences go out to the father and children, but what was she doing at three o'clock in the morning out partying. If she cared so much about her husband and children, she should have been at home.


TAP   November 19th, 2010 7:34 pm ET

Plus the fact of the diary they found in her car, in her own writing mentioning that she drank & drove too much. She also supposedly was in an accident 6 mos prior & had a lengthy record of speeding, driving with no headlights, etc. Had her seat belt been on, she would not have died. The jury should have had all the facts in this case. I feel for her family, but this was clearly an accident. It taught me to not go through a yellow light again!


Dorothy   November 19th, 2010 8:09 pm ET

He should be found not guilty!!! She was more at fault than he was. The jury should have heard all of the facts about her, she should have been at home with her husband and kids.


dorothy   November 19th, 2010 8:12 pm ET

i feel like any mention of the light being yellow at any point , is reasonable doubt in this case.the state made a big mistake by not coming forth with first videotape.the state made a bigger mistake by not taking jim leyritz blood right after the crash. the state created so much reasonable doubt in thier own case, NOTGUILTY FOR ME !


Geraldine Robinson   November 19th, 2010 8:17 pm ET

Yesterday you spoke about wearing her seat bealt this was agreed on by all,there is a nother safety fact her car door was not lock .In a defensive driving course you are made aware that more deaths are course when the door flies open


Donna   November 19th, 2010 8:22 pm ET

NOT GUILTY!! Nothing I have seen or heard has convinced me that he is guilty in any way. We know more than the jury since they are not allowed to hear the whole truth and the victims BAC & driving record.
I feel for her family & her children. I feel that in this case he is Not Guilty.


betty   November 19th, 2010 8:29 pm ET

8 PM and i am shocked to hear that the jury is deadlocked and ready to consider themselves a hung jury. the judge has asked they return on saturday morning to try some more. This is the last thing i would have expected. AND the prosecutor is already saying if a mistrial is called that they will re-try the case. I cannot believe that the public would have to endure the pricetag a 2nd time of the flawed case being tried again. And PLEASE tell me they would at least try it with a different prosecutor !!!! I cannot see conclusive beyond a shadow of a doubt evidence to convict on this charge and expected the jury to have acquitted a long time ago. Very sorry for the children who lost their mom. Tragic situation. However, an accident is sometimes just an awful accident. Would all of us be able to stand a retrial both mentally, physically and not least of all financially. There is no way this man can afford to pay for a 2nd defense. If there is this much indecision in the jury room, then that equals doubt, and he must be acquitted. If a mistrial then the state should concede they wont retry. Anything else and the general public of taxpayers becomes a victim too.


deeborrah   November 19th, 2010 8:30 pm ET

Not Guilty. I really hate this happened, but it could have been Jim dead instead of Fredia. He did not take a gun and shoot her. No one should be drinking and driving, if he did have too much to drink ( which I don't think he did ) I don't think he would ever take another drink and get behind the wheel again. I think that he should be found not guilty on all charges. How many of us in our life time or one of our family members have got behind the wheel drinking? Maybe there was no one hurt from us doing that, but there could have been.


Jeanne   November 19th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

NOT GUILTY! i watched the whole trial, and it seems to me that the Judge was bias against Jim Leyritz, Not letting information in about the victim, also i don' t hink it would have gone this far if Mr Leyritz were not an ex ballplayer, I think the attorney for the victims family smelled money and lots of it. Just pure Greed.
If i were on the Jury my vote NOT GUILTY


Louise   November 19th, 2010 9:25 pm ET

Several points...being from South FL, when I first heard about the accident,a baseball player, I thought guilty....How unfair to Mr. Leyritz.I appologize....

After listening to most of the trial, to both sides of the case, I see a poor initial investigation and follow up on the police's part, with the recorded video, the measurements and calculation of speed and stopping distances, the blood testing and the delay in time of getting it.
This along with the inconclusive evidence of the color of the light, and the timing of when this accident happened using cell phone evidence.
From this, I get a not guilty without any doubt.

I do believe that evidence found in the victims car, along with all of the cell phone/texting usage just before the accident happened, and the fact that she did have an illegal blood alcohol at the time of her death, does lean toward her being at fault. Yes, it's true that this is a tragic thing for her family to go through, but good parents can make bad personal decisions and choices that will have consequences for themselves and their families.


dorothy   November 19th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

The judge felt like jim leyritz wasn't impaired during the field test, just looking at him on the video he dont appear to be drunk at all at that point. His blood alcohol lever had to be lower.


Gerry Gwinn   November 19th, 2010 9:33 pm ET

I feel that Leyritz had control of the intersection on a yellow. This only means that Veitch ran the light. I believe that the accident happened at 3:07am because of the missing tape that the State ???lost??. This man is not threat to anyone and should not be in JAIL. NOT GUILTY on all accounts. Good Luck Jim!


CEC   November 19th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

NOT Guilty, there is too much doubt in this case and Florida LAW sucks I don't see how her condition is not relevant in this case or the fact that she was reading text messages and receiving phone calls. the witnesses on both sides contradict each other as to the light so manslaughter is out and the handling of the blood was extremely poor as well as the testimony of the investigators they did not put the proper effort into this case. I do not condone drinking and driving in anyway but the prosecution and police and investigators need to do a better job. This was all poor police work and a prosecutor who needs more experience.


Joanne - Texas   November 19th, 2010 11:00 pm ET

I FIND THE DEFENDENT – NOT GUILY -–The prosecution has not proved her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Ms Veitch was driving intoxicated with a higher level of alcohol, no seat belt, no lights. How would Mr Leyritz or anyone for that fact would have been able to see Ms Veitch's vehicle prior to the accident; with or without alcohol. I'm sorry to say but the deceased Ms Veitch was at fault. Mr Leyritz was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's to bad that he had alcohol that night. I believe the prosecution would have been on a witch hunt to find Mr Leyritz guilty even without alcohol just because of his professionalism.


Lynn   November 19th, 2010 11:05 pm ET

I was a juror and I fear they might consider many things besides the facts of the case. In the murder case I served on several jurors were focused on things other than the facts. One said to convict for the family of the victim, one wanted me to look at the photos of the victim's dead body, and one even said to do it for the prosecutor because he had worked on this for 10 years. I even got my Jack Nickleson moment when I said to one juror "You believe the defendent is guilty just because he is accused and he said YES!!!! I was even questioned if I knew the defendent even though he hadn't live in the area for over 10 years and somehow I would have been able to get called to serve and then be selected out of all those called. I think it is obvious that the procecutor didn't prove Jim Leyritz ran a red light and the judge should have dismissed it and not left it in the hands of jurors that might make a decision based on their bias and not innocent until proven guilty.


Lynn   November 19th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

The alternate juror said they believed that all the interruptions and discussions outside of the jury meant that there was evidence being argued to keep out of the case. There were so many of these interuptions that I think a jury should decide if they aren't going to hear all the evidence than they aren't qualified to make a judgement with such consequences to the defendant. If a jury is trusted to make a judgement that could be a life or death sentence for a defendant than why aren't they able to hear agument and decide if evidence should be considered or not. People don't want to serve on juries so start telling the judge during the jury selection process that they won't serve unless they are guranteed to hear all of the evidence. Don't risk regret if you wrongfully convict someone because you didn't hear all the evidence. Appeals won't work and are routinely denied. If the judge followed the rules of supressing evidence than the actual guilt or innocence of the defendant isn't even considered in an appeal only errors of procedure or new evidence would be considered.


keith   November 20th, 2010 12:08 am ET

This is a tragedy all the way around. A woman lost her life and her children are without a MOM,but she was in the wrong, It was is obvious, but Mr. Leryits should at least be charged with DUI and serve some time. He needs to learrn that drinking and driving is wrong.


Donald Hensel   November 20th, 2010 12:15 am ET

There are two factors on this case which I believe have been overlooked.I have been a criminal defense lawyer in California for 27 years. The fact us that jurors hate defendants accused of Dui. They requie a defense lawyer to totally destroy the prosecutions case. You have to totally prove your client is not guilty and leave no doubt. This is nearly impossible and is much more difficult then most criminal cases. Even if this occurs, the defendant must be extremely likable. Leyritz on what I have seen in the Courtroom is not likable and somewhat arrogant. This is a tough Dui case involving a death. In light of all of the above, the defense used a shotgun defense on many theories but did not totally destroy the case against them with the added burden of unlikeabiluty. My problem with all of the analysis is that this case was evaluated like any criminal case and all Dui cases are different then most cases. As such, I am not surprised by the deadlocked jury. All we heard was praise for the defense and the obvious was overlooked.


FRL   November 20th, 2010 7:36 am ET

Since the red light issue cant be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt than he should not be convicted


Jim   November 20th, 2010 9:33 am ET

Aside from the trial, and nothing to do with the outcome... was anyone else getting worn out on all of the "caring and dedicated parent" pieces?" For goodness sakes, both of them out at 3AM DRUNK, driving, 2 days after Christmas. That does not to me describe a responsible single parent.


Chris   November 20th, 2010 10:25 am ET

This makes me sick! How can ANYONE on that jury think there is "no reasonable doubt"? Someone is injecting their own experience as opposed to the facts of the case. The prosecution made mistake after mistake and it is also clear that NO ONE can prove whether that light was yellow or red. For Ms. Veitch to reach the speeds that have been estimated at the time of impact she had to have jumped the light. I truly feel for her family, but believe the fact she had a .18 BAC coupled with no seatbelt tells me she was operating a vehicle while impaired. There is also NO indication that Leyritz was "impaired" and no proof of the color of the light. This should have been a slam dunk Not Guilty. Again, I suspect there is ONE person on the jury who is solely caught up on their own "feelings" and not the facts! Shame on that person!


Glenda   November 20th, 2010 11:20 am ET

NOT GUILTY Sounds like to me Fredia caused her own death by running a red light. The light was yellow turning red therefore she still had a red light and ran it!. There's too much the jury does not know.


tani hall   November 20th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

I think jim leyritz should not be smirking in court like he has been.
i hope the jury does not see this.


Frederick B   November 20th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

Just as well Barbara is not on the jury panel.Guilty of what?(being in the wrong place when Veitch ran a red light and hit him at the intersection)To also add,intoxicated,Texting on the phone,and no seat belt,wasn't she also speeding.One can not be at all responsible for anothers behaviour on the roads.Sad for her child but her altimate choice.Leyritz must be found not guilty and the state of Florida needs to have a zero alhohol policy for drivers and stop wasting tax payers money on cases like this.Also the DA needs to have a good look at its policy.


betty   November 20th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

Its official...acquittal on dui manslaughter, and guilty on the misdemeanor of DUI. Turns out the stalemate was 5-1 to convict on DUI alone and had one holdout, who later converted today . By doing so, it will save thousands of dollars to taxpayers money. I think this is the only verdict the jury could have come to based on the evidence presented beyond a reasonable doubt.


B.Lou   November 20th, 2010 6:03 pm ET

Not Guiltyof Manslaughter! I took the test along with the video and I did not do as good as he did. He was nervous and scared probably as any person would be..he made amends with family and I beleive is truly remorseful.. I would have a fit if I was a juror and found out that the victim was drunk...you cant tell me that is not a factor in what happened...and she wasn't seat belted...Charge him with DUI for.08 and let him get on with taking care of his family....Very interesting trial....Good lawyer


Renea   November 20th, 2010 9:42 pm ET

I agree with Renee...Two wrongs don't make a right. Set him free...


Eugene, Brooklyn   November 21st, 2010 12:59 pm ET

NOT GUILTY; This case should have never been gone to trial. The prosecution never had a case. This was an accident.! The victim is over the limit, TEXTING, and not wearing a SEATBELT. How is that the fault of Mr. Leyritz?


Wilma   November 22nd, 2010 8:05 am ET

I think Jim Leyritz is guilty on all charges. If it were Me that killed someone while I was drunk 4 times over the limit I would be in jail for years. But he was named a HERO (why God only knows). He walked away from the murder charge. MOney talks and we know what walks.
I think the case was interesting how he cried like a baby, to save his neck. The children of the dead Mother now have the rest of their lives wondering why he was not convicted of killing her.
Justice sometimes is not what some of us like. Maybe if he was not a HERO he would have been seen in a different light. Sports stars like Hollywood stars have so much money, they can buy anything even their way out of drunk driving.
Will the next drunk driver be seen the same way?


Nancy Hollingshead   November 22nd, 2010 11:34 am ET

When the person said that perhaps the letter Jim wrote wasn't real I went crazy,,,,,,I believe he was very sorry that she died and everything he said he said from the heart.


Gayla Karns   November 22nd, 2010 1:33 pm ET

I am glade to hear Mr.Leyritz is not guilty


LA   November 24th, 2010 9:23 pm ET

Actually Leyritz got off easy. According to the statute if a defendant is driving with a BAC over the legal limit and in this condition not only a) causes an accident but merely b) contributes to it (like being the car that gets smashed into when the driver is operating it illegally) they are guilty of manslaughter. The idea, common in American law, is that if you are committing a crime (like driving drunk) and your crime directly or indirectly causes some problem you are more responsible for the trouble caused than if you were not committing a crime. The idea here is to give people one more reason NOT TO DRIVE DRUNK!!! Also, why would he take the food out of his children's mouths and settle the lawsuit for such a large amount if he had no consciousness of guilt? And where did all the money he made during his career go – into his children's college funds? He got lucky on this one.


Ken   December 2nd, 2010 3:39 pm ET

can't say he was guilty of DUI at time of accident because there was NO evidence of what his B.A.C. was at the time of horrific accident. I'm in your corner Mr. Leyritz but my prayers go out for the deceased and her family and you Mr. Leyritz and your family also. Just regroup and take care of your boys. And I would also like to say that you have a wonderful mother for being by your " Mr. Leyritz " side through this whole ordeal. God Bless you and your family. Ken Smith Indianapolis, IN


Jean tx   December 3rd, 2010 12:23 pm ET

I don't get this at all. I am so sickened by this verdict. What is going on here? NO jail time with his record? First time offenders all over the country
deal with years of restrictions imposed and hardship for their DUI actions.
He did not take responsibility for his addiction and ended up killing someone. In my opinion his crying was a victim act because he got caught.
This jury was seduced into the belief he suffered enough and really "get's it" this time. What nonsense! And CNN relating to him as any kind of hero is revolting. He had success in his career and he was paid well for it- big deal.
He should have had some jail time! end of story.


Barbie   December 8th, 2010 10:53 am ET

I under stand that someone perished but, the BAC of the victim was just as high... Also if she would've had a seat
belt the injuries wouldn't have been fatal... Not saying Leyritz had no fault, but he has to live with himself and what he's done... Hopefully he starts a charity to help victims of this kind of unfortunate situation.... my condolences to the family who suffered the loss.


Steve   December 8th, 2010 8:55 pm ET

What a worthless excuse for a human being. He ran the red light and then has the nerve to blame the victim for being there. He should of gotten a prison sentence for his crime. He killed her. What a lying loser. WORTHLESS LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


eric   March 3rd, 2011 3:25 pm ET

He should go to jail. He killed someone.



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