Via Mark Feinsand, former catcher Jim Leyritz is back with the Yankees on a personal services contract. It’s unclear what he’ll be doing, but he and David Cone were greeting fans at the suite level prior to yesterday’s game. Leyritz has had his fair share of trouble with the law, but the Yankees are always giving guys second and third and fourth chances.
A judge in Florida sentenced former Yankee Jim Leyritz to probation and fined him $500 for his misdemeanor DUI conviction. Leyritz was arrested in December 2007 when he collided with another car at a Fort Lauderdale intersection, resulting in the death of the other driver. Late last month, Leyritz was acquitted of charges in his case for manslaughter DUI.
Jim Leyritz has been acquitted of manslaughter, a Florida jury decided today. The jury, which had been deadlocked yesterday, convicted the former Yankee only of a misdemeanor DUI. He could face up to only six months in prison instead of 15 years had he faced a conviction for manslaughter.
Leyritz was arrested in December 2007 when he collided with another vehicle at a Fort Lauderdale intersection. The other driver was killed when her vehicle rolled over. The case agains Leyritz hinged, in part, upon the traffic light at the intersection. The prosecution tried to show that Leyritz ran a red light while drunk, but defense witnesses cast doubt on both the light and Leyritz’s BAC at the time of the crash. While he blew a 0.14 later that night, experts said Leyritz might not have been drunk at the time of the crash.
The Associated Press has more on the acquittal:
Two witnesses testified that Veitch had the green light at an intersection before Leyritz’s Ford Expedition hit her vehicle, causing a rollover crash that ejected her onto the pavement. But under cross-examination, those same witnesses were less definitive about whether Leyritz’s light was red or yellow.
Defense expert witnesses also said Veitch’s lights may have been off and that Leyritz did not appear to be speeding. They also raised questions about the reliability of Leyritz’s blood tests and suggested he may have suffered a slight concussion that caused his body to absorb alcohol more slowly.
Prosecutors insisted that Leyritz was too drunk to react to the traffic light or avoid the collision with Veitch’s Mitsubishi Montero. They said he consumed the equivalent of between 11 and 12 shots of liquor in the three hours before the crash, which happened around 3 a.m.
Leyritz had settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the Veitch family earlier this year. He agreed to pay them $350,000 as a settlement. Leyritz must have had some good lawyers to escape with just a misdemeanor DUI.
A few news items of note on an afternoon before a long weekend:
- Another sad story comes our way concerning Jim Leyritz. The former Yankee and former MLB.com personality has been arrested on charges of domestic abuse. Leyritz’s ex-wife Karrie called the police after Jim, according to the Sun-Sentinel report, “dragged her out of bed, struck her twice and pushed her on the floor.” The Miami Herald has a different take on the situation. Leyritz’s lawyer denies the assault, and police say the former Mrs. Leyritz changed her story a few hours after initially reporting it to the police. Leyritz goes on trial Sept. 14 for his 2007 DUI arrest following an accident that left another driver dead.
- At 11:59 p.m. this evening All Star Game balloting ends, and as of earlier this week, Mark Teixeira found himself just 40,000 votes behind Kevin Youkilis for the AL’s first base slot. Head on over to MLB.com to vote. Yankee fans can vote for Teixeira 25 times per e-mail address, and while you’re at it, vote for Ian Kinsler too. He’s holding onto a very slim lead over Dustin Pedroia.
- Joe Posnanski has profiled Mariano Rivera. Do you need to know anything more about it? Just read the article.
- From around the Yankee Blogosphere: Rebecca looks at some top MLBers who had success at AA. The Jesus Montero buzz is building. Fack Youk revisits Dave Righetti’s Independence Day no hitter and wonders what could have been if the Yanks hadn’t moved Righetti to the pen. Sound familiar?
- Finally, for the sports journalism junkies among us, Harvard’ Nieman Journalism Lab just wrapped up a four-part series on the shifting media power in sports. With more teams forming regional sports networks, more leagues creating their own TV networks complete with allegedly unbiased news coverage and more blogs gaining readers every day as newspapers see their circulation numbers decline, the world of sports journalism is undergoing something of a paradigm shift. In the series at NJL, Justin Rice focuses mostly on baseball to explore how sports coverage has responded to and embraced the Internet and where sports media is going.
Or: As the Jim Leyritz Saga Turns. Last Friday, as you might remember, former Yankee Jim Leyritz was jailed for defying his pretrial sobriety mandate. The case’s prosecutors claim that The King attempted to drive his car with alcohol in his system “on at least four occasions,” so Circuit Judge Marc Gold signed a warrant for his arrest. Leyritz’s attorney said he’d dispute the claim, and it appears that he has won.
I’ll let Leyritz’s attorney explain why his client was released:
“When Judge Gold issued that order, he had no jurisdiction to issue it,” said Leyritz’s attorney David Bogenschutz.
So he’s out on a technicality, I guess. Here’s a sentence from the CBS 4 report that has me baffled: “Bogenschutz doesn’t dispute the allegations but claims his client ‘misunderstood’ his restrictions.” So his attorney doesn’t dispute that he attempted to drive while drunk, the very action that got him in this mess in the first place. So does that mean that Leyritz “misunderstood” that he can’t drive his car while he’s drunk? That’s what it sounds like to me.
If you want to watch the CBS news report, you can watch it here.