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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jim Leyritz lands job with Angels-owned station despite troubled past

Freida people now…

Angels-owned radio station KLAA (AM 830) has hired troubled ex-major leaguer Jim Leyritz to co-host a new sports talk show, a peculiar move for a club that lost promising young pitcher Nick Adenhart to a drunk-driving accident in 2009.

Leyritz, a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees who had a brief stint with the Angels in 1997, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck and killed a woman in a 2007 automobile accident.

A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., jury in 2010 acquitted Leyritz of DUI manslaughter in the death of 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch, a mother of two, sparing the former catcher from a possible 15-year prison sentence.

Instead, Leyritz, now 50, was sentenced to one year’s probation and fined $500, a far lesser penalty than he faced before a jury determined he wasn’t responsible for the woman’s death.

“That was in the past—he’s dealt with it, he’s open about it, and I’ll leave it at that,” KLAA program director Bob Agnew said. “We hired Jim based on his broadcast and baseball experience. He had an issue he has not hidden from. It’s not something to go backwards on. He has to live with what’s happened in the past.”

Repoz Posted: December 24, 2013 at 07:10 AM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, booze, media

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   1. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 24, 2013 at 07:36 AM (#4623336)
Sigh.
   2. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 24, 2013 at 07:42 AM (#4623337)
   3. Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4623343)
The most startling thing about this is that Leyritz isn't in prison. I was genuinely surprised to learn that.
   4. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4623351)
I hope the station also hired a designated driver.
   5. hardrain Posted: December 24, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4623357)
#3 same here. I thought he was locked up for a good long time.
   6. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 24, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4623358)
He has to live with what’s happened in the past.

Would that the same were true for his victim.
   7. Flynn Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4623365)
Wasn't she even more drunk than he was? Not that two wrongs make a right, but I think that is why he was acquitted.

Edit: she was, and the jury found that she ran the red light, not him.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4623371)
Leyritz never served prison time. He was put on probation. He later complained about the ignition interlock system placed on his car, arguing that if he had a chicken marsala - his favorite dish! - it might lock up his car.

He did serve the time given though, so I don't see why he can't resume a fairly normal place in society. Having such a public profile job though is probably a bad idea to be honest. The first thing I think of when I see him is "there's the guy that killed someone when drunk driving."
   9. BDC Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4623375)
He did serve the time given though, so I don't see why he can't resume a fairly normal place in society

This sentence should be uttered whenever people with criminal records are discussed.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4623380)
This sentence should be uttered whenever people with criminal records are discussed.


Or have served PED suspensions!
   11. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4623390)
As I see it, society gets their criminal bite and people involved get their civil bite. Unless it's a crime that leads me to believe there's significant danger to my business given the job required (i.e. hiring a bank robber to be a bank teller), I don't see why I should get a bite, too.
   12. dlf Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4623396)
#11 - It depends on how you define 'significant danger.' A company that trades on the whims of public popularity is well within its rights to consider not employing someone who will be a major PR hit. My company has neither office showers nor unescorted minors, so there is vanishingly little direct risk to the underlying business activity, but I'd certainly not hire Jerry Sandusky after his prison release. A radio station, especially one carrying sports sponsored by beer companies, should think about that proverbial bite.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4623398)
A company that trades on the whims of public popularity is well within its rights to consider not employing someone who will be a major PR hit.


From what I understand from Facebook Constitutional Law scholars, that would be an infringement of First Amendment free speech rights!
   14. depletion Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4623427)
The first thing I think of when I see him is "there's the guy that killed someone when drunk driving."

But if #7 is true, then this is not true. He was drunk and got in a fatal accident, but it was evidentally not his fault.
   15. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4623435)
But if #7 is true, then this is not true. He was drunk and got in a fatal accident, but it was evidentally not his fault.


Ah, revisionism.

His lawyer convinced a jury there was reasonable doubt he drove through a red light, despite evidence to the contrary.

It was evidently a miscarriage of justice,.
   16. depletion Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4623439)
KT, I have no attachment to Leyritz. If there is evidence he drove through a red light, then perhaps he is guilty. Did the unfortunate lady drive through a red light, too? I did see, in person, two New York cab drivers simultaneously try to beat the red-red overlap at a traffic light and collide with each other. They both got out of their cabs and seem to have the "I guess I *ed up" look on their faces.
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4623445)
Yay, another drunk driving thread.
   18. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4623452)
Yay, another drunk driving thread.

... and one replete with the usual "I know better than everyone else what happened; I followed the story from Mom's basement" moralizing.

Yippee!!!

This sentence should be uttered whenever people with criminal records are discussed.

A pathologically risk averse and merciless society with instant access to cheaply stored information isn't conducive to people with criminal records rebuilding their lives. Sad state of affairs.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4623455)
But if #7 is true, then this is not true. He was drunk and got in a fatal accident, but it was evidentally not his fault.


They should run that disclaimer every time he is on air then.
   20. Flynn Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4623460)
His lawyer convinced a jury there was reasonable doubt he drove through a red light, despite evidence to the contrary.


The evidence was eyewitness testimony, which got demolished to the point that he was acquitted for manslaughter within 45 minutes - the jury deliberations were primarily over whether to convict him on the DUI charge.
   21. BDC Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4623468)
A radio station, especially one carrying sports sponsored by beer companies, should think about that proverbial bite

Possibly, but I reckon no publicity is bad publicity when you're hiring talk-radio hosts.
   22. smileyy Posted: December 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4623469)
At least baseball only has a DUI problem, not a child rape problem? That's where my outrage is this week.
   23. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 24, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4623552)
Does anyone doubt that if his name was Jim Smith and he didn't hit a home run in the World Series, he'd be in prison now? For a long, long time?
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4623559)
Does anyone doubt that if his name was Jim Smith and he didn't hit a home run in the World Series, he'd be in prison now? For a long, long time?


Well, yes, I do doubt that.
   25. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 24, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4623574)
The most startling thing about this is that Leyritz isn't in prison. I was genuinely surprised to learn that.

Per b-r, Leyritz made $11M during his career. That's probably enough to come down with a nasty case of Affluenza.
   26. Lars6788 Posted: December 24, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4623664)
The best lawyers can make you believe the devil doesn't exist or something like that - that is always the clincher for those who can afford the cream of the crop.

Having seen Leyritz a few times hanging out over the batting cage before Angels games, it doesn't seem like he is affected and it doesn't seem like various players / coaches treat him as a pariah when he mingles with them.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 24, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4623670)
Having seen Leyritz a few times hanging out over the batting cage before Angels games, it doesn't seem like he is affected


I mean, what sort of thing would you be looking for that tells you it seems like he is affected?
   28. Eric L Posted: December 24, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4623688)
The apocalypse is here. I agree with Ray and SBB completely.
   29. Srul Itza Posted: December 24, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4623695)
Clearly, all crimes should carry the death penalty, since if someone commits a crime, they are unfit to ever again be part of human society, and should simply be disposed of, so as to avoid anyone ever having to hear their name or see them again.

   30. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 24, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4623708)
The evidence was eyewitness testimony, which got demolished to the point that he was acquitted for manslaughter within 45 minutes - the jury deliberations were primarily over whether to convict him on the DUI charge.


The eyewitness who told police he drove through a red light was Leyritz's passenger. Then during the trial his critical testimony against a very wealthy man, suddenly changed.

The passenger in a sport utility vehicle driven by former major league ballplayer Jim Leyritz testified today that he never saw a traffic light turn red seconds before their SUV crashed into a second vehicle and killed a woman.

Testifying in Leyritz's DUI manslaughter trial, Bruce Barger told a jury that he assumed the light turned red but that he did not actually witness it change color as they drove into an intersection in December 2007. That appeared to conflict with a statement Barger gave police in January 2008, when he said the light did turn red.

"Do I remember seeing it red? No," said Barger, who now lives in Pittsburgh. "Can I assume it was red at some point? Yeah, I can say that.".


Since Barger now lives in Pittsburgh we can't assume Leyritz paid him a great deal of money, but I can assume something happened that convinced him to change his testimony. Yeah, I can say that.

And a shocking prosecutor error heavily biased the jurors. I'm sure that mistake was accidental, since Floridian prosecutors un-bribable and un-influencable, correct?

The stunning testimony came after the DUI manslaughter case against Leyritz got briefly thrown off track after an asleep-at-the-switch prosecutor didn’t object to questions about how much the ex-Yank’s victim was drinking before she died.

“I’m telling you, this is problematic,” fumed Judge Marc Gold at prosecutor Stefanie Newman this morning after excusing jurors for lunch and saying he needed to consider how to handle the foul-up.

After lunch, Gold allowed the trial to resume, instead of declaring a mistrial.

Gold in a pre-trial ruling had barred toxicology evidence that Leyritz’s victim Fredia Ann Veitch had a blood-alcohol level of .18 when the former Bronx Bomber plowed his Ford Expedition into her Mitsubishi Montero on Dec. 28, 2007, killing her.

Gold had said Veitch’s level of drunkeness — which coincidentally was the same level as that of Leyritz’s — was irrelevant to the question of whether Leyritz had run a red light or tried to beat a yellow light right before the crash.


And again, there was an independent witness to the accident.

Another prosecution witness who was walking near the intersection the night of the crash insisted that Veitch had the green light. But under cross-examination, the witness said he looked up at the light only after hearing the screech of tires and impact of the crash.


Her light is only green after his light has turned red, and the screech of tires is before the sound of collision and both should instantly draw the witnesses attention.

So I guess it's possible the witness didn't look very quickly and the accident happened a split second before her light turned green (meaning she ignored a red light for hundreds of feet, possible), and that his own witness suddenly realized 3 years later in the mists of time that his immediate testimony at the time of the accident was completely wrong, and that a prosecutor was ignorant enough to sit on her ass while the defense attorney to pursue a line of questioning for 20 questions to expose an area the judge had barred pre-trial, and even more ignorant to try to re-open the same line of questioning that had already biased the jury against the victim.

Yea, it's possible he's not a drunken skeevy murderer who gamed the system to avoid a prison term. It's also possible he would have been a HOF catcher had he gotten more starts.
   31. Publius Publicola Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4623711)
Leyritz always struck me as an ####### even before the DUI. A bigmouth airhead with an inflated opinion of himself. I found him insufferable whenever he got airtime and don't understand this hiring decision, even from a purely entertainment POV.
   32. Srul Itza Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4623712)
Conspiracy much, Pot boy?
   33. Srul Itza Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4623713)
A bigmouth airhead with an inflated opinion of himself.


In other words, born for sports talk radio.
   34. BDC Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4623719)
IANAL, Pot Arb, but the standard is "reasonable doubt," and it's a lawyer's job to raise it, and everyone in the system knows that. I don't think that all acquittals are the result of the game being rigged. I just think that "reasonable doubt" is a big part of existence, and if I'm ever accused of a crime, I'll appreciate that.
   35. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 24, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4623727)
Primey for #30.

Srul, stop being an idiot. (If you can.)
   36. Srul Itza At Home Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4623749)
RMc, Drop Dead Twice.
   37. depletion Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4623750)
So I guess it's possible the witness didn't look very quickly and the accident happened a split second before her light turned green (meaning she ignored a red light for hundreds of feet, possible),

People ignore red lights like this all the time, especially with a 0.18. Or she tried to "time" the red light turning green. Perhaps both of them were trying to beat the light, just like the cab accident I witnessed. Obviously its Leyritz's fault that the prosecutor f-ed up. He should demand a retrial. Prosecutors never screw up unless someone bribes them. Also, no one ever changes their story unless they were bribed.
I don't care at all about Leyritz. But nothing you have written convinces me that he is a murderer.
   38. Morty Causa Posted: December 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4623755)
That's why there are trials, with cross-exams and all--sometimes people (to wit, witnesses) are made to see that what they think is so aint.
   39. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 25, 2013 at 01:39 AM (#4623775)
I just think that "reasonable doubt" is a big part of existence, and if I'm ever accused of a crime, I'll appreciate that.


I agree, but I don't think I can give it to Leyritz in this case. Clearly he was intoxicated, I think the evidence was convincing he ran a red light or the tail end of a yellow light at a good rate of speed while distracted looking for something in his car. I think whether the light was red or turning red, what he did is worthy of manslaughter prison time..

It seems clear that the key witness lied on the stand. Whether he was induced to lie, or just felt bad for Jim Leyritz, I don't know. But your memory of events doesn't get better with time.
   40. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 25, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4623795)
Srul, stop being an idiot. (If you can.)

36. Srul Itza At Home Posted: December 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4623749)
RMc, Drop Dead Twice.


No, I guess you can't. Hey, I tried.

nothing you have written convinces me he is a murderer.


How about: he got stinking drunk (one of many, many times), got behind the wheel, crashed into someone, and they died? If that's not murder to you, I suggest you become a lawyer. Or a scumbag.

Quit sniffing that jock, son.
   41. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4623814)
#11 - It depends on how you define 'significant danger.' A company that trades on the whims of public popularity is well within its rights to consider not employing someone who will be a major PR hit.

I never said they weren't well within their rights to choose or choose not to hire him. I was giving my personal beliefs on the subject. Unlike most, I don't believe that my personal value system should be forced upon the interactions of private, consenting parties.
   42. Srul Itza At Home Posted: December 25, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4623863)
I agree, but I don't think I can give it to Leyritz in this case.


You weren't asked to. You weren't there, at the scene or in the court room. Monday morning jurors don't carry a lot of weight. And your post was an amalgam of conspiracy-mongering and libel.
   43. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 25, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4623868)
Unlike most, I don't believe that my personal value system should be forced upon the interactions of private, consenting parties.

Most people probably don't think your PVS should be forced on PCPs, either.

Merry Christmas!
   44. Morty Causa Posted: December 25, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4623872)
First impression eyewitness appreciations of an event are not necessarily how it happened or the best interpretation of what happened. If they were, trials could really be simplified--to nothing. But we got away from that a long long time ago. We can be fooled, and can fool ourselves, in many ways, and statements based on first impression often lead to a lot of questions.

   45. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 25, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4623875)
You weren't asked to. You weren't there, at the scene or in the court room. Monday morning jurors don't carry a lot of weight. And your post was an amalgam of conspiracy-mongering and libel


My post was an amalgam of the facts of the case.

Fact: Key witness changed previous testimony that Leyritz ran red light while on stand, yet still testified he was driving while distracted and the light may have been red or yellow.

Fact: Jurors were given testimony about victim's drunkeness against the express rulings of the Judge.

Fact: Judge considered mistrial due to prosecutorial incompetence.

Fact: Leyritz was very drunk.

I don't think the jury could possibly rule fairly given the defense was able to give them reason to be biased against the victim, and they were also told clearly misleading testimony.

First impression eyewitness appreciations of an event are not necessarily how it happened or the best interpretation of what happened. If they were, trials could really be simplified--to nothing. But we got away from that a long long time ago. We can be fooled, and can fool ourselves, in many ways, and statements based on first impression often lead to a lot of questions.


I agree that eyewitness accounts can be misleading. But we had two witnesses that saw Leyritz ran a red, one who wasn't in the right angle to know authoritatively, the other who was in the car who was.

But the jury heard a different the key eyewitness relate a different story, when nothing can happen in that 3 years could only have made their recall of that event more accurate than what they told the police immediately after.

   46. Morty Causa Posted: December 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4623973)
I'm not trying to start a fight with you with what I'm going to ask, but what is the basis of this certainty of yours? I mean, do you have the trial/case record at your disposal setting forth the legal issue to be decided and the facts supporting and contravening that issue?
   47. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 26, 2013 at 01:42 AM (#4623989)
I'm not trying to start a fight with you with what I'm going to ask, but what is the basis of this certainty of yours? I mean, do you have the trial/case record at your disposal setting forth the legal issue to be decided and the facts supporting and contravening that issue?


Do you have access to them? Can you find anything in them to contradict the widely reported facts that the key witness changed his testimony, and that the judge considered a mistrial due to prosecutorial incompetence?

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