CT Supreme Court Reinstate's Michael Skakel's Conviction

The Supreme Court of Connecticut has reinstated Michael Skakel's murder conviction. The conviction had been overturned on a habeas petition, with the lower court finding Skakel's attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Court disagreed:

Because we conclude that the petitioner’s trial counsel rendered constitutionally adequate representation, we reverse the judgment of the habeas court and remand the case to that court with direction to render judgment denying the petition.

The Supreme Court said Skakel's attorney's representation was not deficient. Skakel served a decade in prison before being freed pending a new trial three years ago.

One justice dissented, and one justice partially agreed with the dissenting justice but in the end agreed with the majority that the conviction should stand.

The majority opinion is here. The dissenting opinion is here and the concurring opinion is here.

I'm sorry that Skakel's conviction will be reinstated, as I have never believed he is guilty of murdering Martha Moxley, but I also believe Mickey Sherman's representation was not ineffective. [More...]

All of TalkLeft's coverage of the case is accessible here.

Skakel was 15 at the time Martha Moxley was murdered. He wasn't charged until more than 20 years later. Had Michael Skakel been charged in 1975 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 was the law back then in Connecticut. There was also a five year statute of limitations on murder. To deny Skakel's claim the state waited too long to charge him, the CT appeals court reversed a 20 year old decision.

Here's a recap of the case from my point of view.

Skakel still has several appeal options potentially available. I doubt he'll be going back to prison immediately. I don't think he should go back at all.

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  • Display: Sort:
    What a strange case (none / 0) (#1)
    by McBain on Sat Dec 31, 2016 at 12:03:08 AM EST
    This is what Jeralyn said in 2013
    As to preferential treatment because he's related to the Kennedys, I think it's more likely that had he not been related to the Kennedys, he would have not have been charged at all, and if charged, not convicted.

    "privilege" can work both ways.

    I didn't follow this trial but it sounds like two other suspects were given immunity. I can see why Jeralyn didn't like this one.

    Not exactly, (none / 0) (#2)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 31, 2016 at 04:40:46 AM EST
    I think Jeralyn "didn't like this one" for the same reason I didn't like it.....he wasn't guilty.

    A Troubling Case (none / 0) (#3)
    by Aspidistra on Sat Dec 31, 2016 at 10:46:26 AM EST
    Even if Skakel was guilty, he has already served eight years more than the sentence he should have been handed down under the law.  

    It just seems weird that since the government waited 25 years to prosecute the case that means that they get to try someone as the adult they are now, rather than the juvenile who they were at the time the crime was committed.  Shouldn't crimes committed by a juvenile be prosecuted that way, regardless of how long the state takes to make its case?

    in theory you are right (none / 0) (#4)
    by nyjets on Sat Dec 31, 2016 at 10:56:53 AM EST
    In theory that is correct. The think is, now that he is an adult, it is harder to ignore the crime. He no longer looks like a kid so you want him to server longer for murder.
    If he was tried as a juvenile when he was a juvenile , he still looks like a kid so it is easier to treat him like a juvenile. Hence the 2 year sentence for murder.