EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

February 15, 2013

Prosecutors seek dismissal of latest Skakel appeal

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — An attorney for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel said yesterday he was within his rights and had strategic considerations in waiting to file an appeal of Skakel’s murder conviction that claims his trial attorney did a poor job.

Prosecutors urged a judge to dismiss Skakel’s latest challenge of his 2002 murder conviction, saying the claim should have been raised in an earlier appeal and that many of the issues he cites were previously rejected. The 52-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, did not attend the hearing in Rockville Superior Court and there was no immediate ruling.

Hubert Santos, Skakel’s current attorney, said there was no obligation to file the claim earlier and to do so would have forced him to make inconsistent arguments. He said the defense wanted trial attorney Michael Sherman’s cooperation in connection with an earlier appeal and was awaiting details to emerge of Sherman’s tax troubles that would factor into the latest claim.

Sherman served about six months in prison for failing to pay more than $400,000 in income taxes. Sherman pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay income taxes.

Skakel’s claim argues that Sherman had significant financial problems and didn’t devote enough money to retain investigators and expert consultants. Santos noted that his appeal related to Sherman’s performance came after Sherman pleaded guilty.

Skakel is serving 20 years to life in prison for the fatal beating of Martha Moxley in wealthy Greenwich in 1975, when they were 15-year-old neighbors. He recently lost a bid for parole after a hearing in which he reiterated his innocence.

Attorneys for Skakel argue in the appeal filed in 2010 that Sherman failed to challenge the state’s star witness by finding witnesses who later rejected his claim that Skakel confessed to the crime. Skakel, who is seeking a new trial, says Sherman failed to obtain evidence from prosecutors and others pointing to other suspects and failed to object to improper closing arguments.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Photos of the Week