Michael Skakel Sentencing Today
So often a defendant who is convicted of a serious, high profile crime is made out to be a monster in the press. Many times they are quite different. We think Michael Skakel, who will be sentenced today for the killing of Martha Moxley 27 years ago when they were both 15, is such a case.
In letters filed with the Court, Skakel's family and friends described his life and gave him their support.
According to the letters:
Rushton Skakel, Michael's father and the brother of Ethel Kennedy, "beat him so often that he often slept in his closet. Once his father fired a rifle at him while hunting."
A recovering alcholic himself for the past 17 years, Skakel worked in a homeless shelter in the Bronx after meeting Mother Teresa. "He also has spoken to youths about substance abuse and formed a nonprofit group with the former manager of the band Aerosmith that traveled to Russia to educate and promote Alcoholics Anonymous."
"While working for AmeriCares, Skakel visited the Dominican Republican after a devastating hurricane helping deliver emergency medical supplies."
"A friend who is a teacher in New York described an incident in which Skakel quietly fixed the roof of a poor woman's house."
His cousin Bobby Kennedy, Jr. wrote among other things, "...Skakel attends Mass daily, carries a rosary and is one of the most spiritual people he has ever met"
He is a model father whose three year old son adores him.
Skakel was 15 at the time Martha Moxley was murdered. He underwent drug treatment, sobered up, and has had no criminal history as an adult. What's the point of throwing away his life and his son's life now? How has punishment come to be synonomous with revenge and retribution? The former is a legitimate sentencing goal in our criminal justice system, the latter two are not.
Had Michael Skakel been charged in 1977 when the murder occurred, he would have been tried in juvenile court and if convicted, received a sentence of no more than two years. That's how juveniles were treated back then in Connecticut.
Had Skakel not been related to the Kennedys, he probably never would have been charged and we doubt he would have been convicted. Be that as it may, he was charged and convicted and today will be sentenced.
We suspect the Judge will max Skakel out with 25 to life, instead of sentencing him to the lesser 10 to 15 year term his lawyers are asking for. If he does, he'll be wrong. That will be revenge, not justice.
|< Dramatic Rise in Number of Black Males in Prison | Settlement in Teen Informant Case >|