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Author Topic: Remembering Martha Moxley ... 1960-1975  (Read 9427 times)
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...and Injustice for most


« on: November 02, 2009, 08:12:09 AM »

Remembering Martha Moxley: Dorthy Moxley of Summit Reflects on Her Daughter’s Life, Tragic Death, and the Aftermath

By Jennifer Jean Miller
11/2/2009

SUMMIT, NJ – She was described as sunshine by those who had the privilege to know her. According to those who knew her, when 15-year-old Martha Moxley walked into a room people were automatically attracted to her natural inner radiance. They say she had a wholesome goodness and kind heart, complemented by her sincere smile.

Photo above: A portrait of smiling Martha Moxley greets those who enter her mother Dorthy’s home.

"None of us had known anyone like her. And that smile was infectious. It was hard not to be happy when you were around her. She was always laughing, forever upbeat. There really was no one that didn’t like her in school. And her personality alone made her stand out," wrote friend Mei (Stone) Versailles on a website dedicated to Martha’s memory.

Sometime between October 30 and October 31 of 1975, Martha Moxley’s loving innocence was snuffed out during a grisly and horrific crime which rocked the affluent and safe Belle Haven neighborhood of Greenwich, Connecticut. She was found in her own backyard bludgeoned to death by a golf club, after she returned from a Halloween party. Her father, David, mother, Dorthy, and brother, John, were left to pick up the pieces in the shocking aftermath.

Friend Leigh LaPore Herrmann wrote, "They murdered Martha…and they murdered that which was within each & all of us...a belief that we were given the right to live to see our full potential without fear or loss of life or suppression of Justice as is guaranteed to us as Americans...and as human beings...."

Despite the diligent efforts of the Greenwich Police Department, the case went cold and Martha’s murder went unsolved for many years. Neighbors Thomas and Michael Skakel, the nephews of Ethel Kennedy, were suspects but were largely shielded from the police by their family. However, Michael Skakel was was heard bragging about murdering Martha Moxley while he was in a drug rehabilitation program at the Elan School. A fellow student who later testified against Skakel said Skakel told him of Moxley’s murder, "I’m going to get away with murder. I’m a Kennedy."

In 1991, the Skakels’ cousin, William Kennedy Smith, was on trial for rape and a rumor circulated that Smith had possibly attended the same Halloween party that Martha Moxley had attended the night she was murdered.  This detail, although not accurate, reopened the interest in the case. A few books further acted as catalysts nudging Martha’s story back to the surface including Jerry Oppenheimer’s The Other Mrs. Kennedy, Dominick Dunne’s A Season in Purgatory and Mark Fuhrman’s Murder in Greenwich. Fuhrman’s book specifically named Michael Skakel as the murderer.

The Greenwich Police picked up the ball in the investigation and, in June 2000, Michael Skakel was arrested for Martha Moxley’s murder, nearly a quarter of a century after the crime. In June 2002, he was convicted and is currently serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Skakel has since made numerous appeals all of which have been rejected by the courts.

A year and a half following Martha’s death, her heartbroken parents and brother moved to Annapolis, Maryland. After her husband’s death, Dorthy Moxley relocated to Chatham Township, New Jersey, and then later to Summit to be closer to her son John and his family.

Today, Martha Moxley’s positive energy force is present in her mother’s home in Summit with photographs and portraits of the vivacious girl smiling down on each and every person who enters the premises. Visitors are greeted in the foyer by the painting of the timeless beauty holding a stack of schoolbooks.

"I recalled a young girl nonchalantly going about her schoolday, putting up books and other things in her locker, imagining she had a half-century of life and love, happiness and pain ahead of her when in fact she was nearing the end of her short but meaningful life. At the edge of an abyss lies what we are not privileged as mortals to know at this time," classmate Chiku Misra reminisced on the Martha Moxley Website. Of Dorthy Moxley, Misra added, "…not to say that makes it any easier for that most elegant of women, Dorthy Moxley. A pillar of strength, decency, courtesy, and noble suffering."

Dorthy Moxley sits in her living room in Summit with a portrait of Martha and John hanging above the couch. Martha, a cat lover, casually sits and holds a cat and her brother John embraces a dog. The portrait was Dorthy’s gift to husband David for his birthday.

Dorthy speaks candidly about how, despite the loss of her child, she was able to pick up the pieces and have faith that the right pieces would come together at the appropriate time to bring resolution to Martha’s case. How does one pull it all together as Dorthy Moxley did and continues to do, while honoring the memory of her daughter and simultaneously helping others? She lives her life by what she considers are three important elements, factors which she believes have helped to carry her through the dark moments. These include the implementation of the Golden Rule, how kindness reaps kindness, and politeness will carry a person far.

"I grew up in the 1950’s where I was taught by my parents to always do and say the kindest things in the kindest way," Dorthy said. She also quotes her mother-in-law with a chuckle, "Politeness will pay in one way or the other and lack of it will reflect on your mother."

"Martha would have wanted me to move forward," said Dorthy, "and I thought it was also important for me to do that for Martha’s friends. I could have stayed in bed forever, but it would have done no one any good."

Instead, Dorthy’s determination has been an inspiration for others. She was recently awarded the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center Endless Journey Award for her perseverance in finding justice for Martha. Dorthy has an inherent willingness to help others, which she describes as her "missionary complex". She has been a guest speaker at victims’ rights events including The Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference. Melanie Ilene Rieger was murdered in 1994 by her boyfriend.

Dorthy hopes that her story will help to bring peace to those affected by the senselessness of violent crimes. She has also been a guest speaker at SAGE Eldercare of Summit to empower people locally with the tools in dealing with grief and loss.

Even with helping others through this type of outreach, Dorthy is humble and still feels she wishes she could do more, although she contends with some health struggles. She seems to not realize the impact her example has had on others. Richard Pompelio Esq. who heads up the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center remarked to Dorthy during a 2007 interview, "After all the hardship you and your family have encountered, your presence is so positive and inspiring."

"There is no such thing as fair," Dorthy told The Alternative Press. "We need to accept what we’re given. I have a strong faith. I accept things and see how to fit it in and make it good."

Part of her faith is grounded in realizing the best in people can come out of the worst of situations. She is grateful to those she calls her "angels", including Frank Garr of the Greenwich Police Department, members of the media such as Len Levitt of the Greenwich Times, and authors Dunne, Furhman and Tim Dumas. "These are good, fine people," said Dorthy. She coined the nickname "Queen of Patience" for herself, realizing if she waited patiently enough, positive breakthroughs would eventually happen in Martha’s case. She said once all of the elements were there, everything snowballed. She wanted nothing more than for the case to be solved, but realized in time things would work out on their own. She knew none of this would have come to fruition without the integral people and events coming into the picture at their proper times. This included Michael Skakel’s arrest. "If he had confessed in the beginning, there would have been a different outcome," she said.

She was particularly touched by the outreach of the students who testified against Skakel from Elon. "These young people came forward and testified," she said. "They did it to be nice and do the right thing."

Part of her recovery is her belief that people are generally good and willing to help others and will do so without being asked. She said following Martha’s death, some friends physically pitched in to help with sleeves rolled up while others offered moral support. "Everyone does it in different ways," Dorthy said. Some friends signed Dorthy up for tennis lessons to help keep her busy. Crafts and art were also therapeutic means which spiritually lifted her.

To this day she habitually remains busy, involved in social organizations in Summit, playing bridge and maintaining an active social schedule, which leads to her philosophy that people should not feel sorry for themselves.

As a child, Dorthy dealt with the death of a fellow classmate who she witnessed being hit by a truck on the way to school. There were the deaths of aunts and uncles. Then there was the death of her own mother when Dorthy was age 18. She feels these events prepared her to cope better with Martha’s death.

Following the death of her husband David who had worked with the police and media after Martha’s murder, Dorothy took over where David had left off. Prior to that she had been in the background taking care of others, but now she additionally adopted the leadership role. Her perseverance paid off and justice was served for Martha. "If you look for good you can find it," Dorthy said.

This even includes her opinion of Michael Skakel. "I am not a vindictive person. I don’t care to be his friend but I hope he will get out of prison and spend time with his son. I hope he will have a productive, good life," she said.

Her determination has helped her to remain as strong as she possibly can be despite the circumstances dealt to her with Martha’s death. Her example has taught others to do the same. In her 2002 victim’s impact statement, Dorthy Moxley wrote, "Michael Skakel sentenced us to a life without Martha."

"Our loved ones didn’t choose to die," she said while concluding our interview. "Something like this changes a person’s life forever. People want you to forget about it. You don’t want to hurt but you can’t forget about it."

About her daughter Martha she adds, "Martha loved life and lived a very happy 15 years. She had a lot of friends. As hard as it is, it makes it easier knowing she lived a good life."

Martha’s friends couldn’t agree more. Although they have grown older, they have never forgotten the legacy of the girl who radiated sunshine, a legacy which has helped them to carry on in the midst of the tears. In the words of Martha’s classmate Jack Sherman, "I am a spiritual person, and I firmly believe she is in a better, higher place now.... full of light and love...that same light and love that she emanated to all of us here on earth."

For more information about the facts behind Martha Moxley’s case as well as reflections about her by those who knew her, see the website: http://www.marthamoxley.com/ 

http://thealternativepress.com/article.asp?news=7610&Remembering-Martha-Moxley:--Dorthy-Moxley-of-Summit-Reflects-on-Her-Daughter%E2%80%99s-Life,-Tragic-Death,-and-the-Aftermath-
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 08:56:30 AM »

thanks for the article...
her mother is very gracious...
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2010, 10:01:12 PM »

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/04/12/2010-04-12_kennedy_nephew_michael_skakels_conviction_in_1975_martha_moxley_murder_upheld_by.html
Kennedy nephew Michael Skakel's conviction in 1975 Martha Moxley murder upheld by top Conn. court
April 10, 2010


Michael Skakel, left, enters a Norwalk, Conn. courthouse during his 2002 sentencing.

Kennedy clan member Michael Skakel, who is doing time for beating a teenage neighbor to death with a golf club, lost his bid Monday for a new trial.

In a 4-1 decision, Connecticut's highest court upheld Skakel's conviction for killing 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975.

A nephew of Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel, Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life in 2002 for murdering Moxley when they were neighbors in tony Greenwich, Conn.

Skakel, 49, had asked for a new trial after a former prep school classmate, Gitano "Tony" Bryant, implicated his two friends in the killing.

Bryant gave a videotaped statement to an investigator hired by Skakel in which he said his two friends were in Greenwich the night Moxley was killed. He said they told him they got Moxley "caveman style."

Prosecutors said Bryant made up the story and that nobody saw him or his friends - a black man and a man of mixed race - in the mostly white neighborhood that night.

When a judge turned down Skakel's first new trial request in 2007, he appealed again to Connecticut Supreme Court.



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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2010, 10:02:48 PM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hYJIs6LNYPMCK46YR1qfqdno0AGAD9F3RIE80
Kennedy cousin eligible for parole in 3 years
April 15, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, who lost an appeal of his conviction for a 1975 killing, could be released from prison in three years because of more lenient laws in place at the time of the crime, officials said.

Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors. The Connecticut Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal Monday.

Skakel is eligible for parole consideration on April 3, 2013, based on credits for good behavior and other activities such as participating in programs, said Brian Garnett, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Correction. That policy was eliminated in 1994, he said.

Skakel has not had any discipline issues in prison, Garnett said.

Skakel, 49, could have his first parole hearing in 18 months because hearings generally are held about 18 months before the parole eligibility date, said John Lahda, executive director of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Skakel's Kennedy connection will play no role in deciding whether he should be released from prison, Lahda said. The board considers a prisoner's disciplinary record, whether he held a job in prison, participated in programs and, most importantly, what's contained in victim impact statements, he said.

"We take the victim's rights very seriously here," Lahda said.

John Moxley, the victim's brother, said he will oppose Skakel's release.

"There's been no remorse," Moxley told The Associated Press. "There's been no taking accountability. There's been nothing to suggest that imprisonment has changed his mindset or the mindset of the family."

Dorthy Moxley, the victim's mother, said she would prefer Skakel remain in prison for 20 years, but she said she wouldn't get too upset if he got released.

"If that's what happens, I will be able to live with it," she told the AP.

Messages were left this week for Hope Seeley, Skakel's attorney.

Skakel has participated in a prison art program, and a drawing he did of his son George was displayed at a community college in Hartford.

Hugh Keefe, a prominent defense attorney in New Haven not involved in the case, said be believes Skakel has a good chance of winning parole in three years.

"There's absolutely no reason he shouldn't get the same benefit people got at that time," Keefe said. "All the criteria I know they use he passes with flying colors. It should not be held against him because he is a prominent person from a prominent family."

Jeffrey Meyer, a Quinnipiac University law professor who has written about Connecticut's parole laws, sounded more doubtful. He noted that the hearing will get a lot of attention and the parole board has been cautious after a notorious home invasion in Connecticut in which a woman and her two daughters were killed, allegedly by two men who were paroled.

On the other hand, Skakel can argue that the crime he was convicted of occurred nearly four decades ago, Meyer said.

"He'll have substantial arguments that he's not at risk to reoffend again," Meyer said.

Skakel is pursuing other appeals, including plans to argue he had ineffective legal counsel at his trial.
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2010, 10:05:40 PM »

http://**/breaking-news/ci_14992207
Kennedy relative asks court to reconsider ruling
April 30, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its rejection of an appeal of his conviction for the 1975 killing of his 15-year-old neighbor.

The high court ruled 4-1 on April 12 against Skakel's bid for a new trial, saying a claim implicating two other men in the killing was not credible.

Skakel—a nephew of Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel—was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in 2002 for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich.

Skakel wants all seven justices to reconsider the case.

"One justice of this Connecticut Supreme Court has already announced that if Michael Skakel were granted a new trial, he would likely be found not guilty," Skakel's attorneys wrote. "The interests of justice demand that the full panel determine whether he should be given that opportunity so that justice can finally be served in this case."

Skakel argues the claim implicating two other men in the killing was credible enough to affect the verdict, especially when compared to testimony at the trial. He cites the dissenting opinion by Justice Richard Palmer, who called the state's case weak.

Skakel also cites concerns raised by Palmer and the majority of the high court over a lead investigator's book about the case with a former Newsday reporter. Skakel's attorneys say the book shows bias by the investigator, Frank Garr, against Skakel. But Garr has said he did not get involved in the book until after the verdict and denied any misconduct.

Prosecutor Susann Gill said she would respond to the reconsideration request in court within 10 days.
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2010, 10:07:32 PM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jg_8pXvgST0XDIGsqmW33zN4MZ_QD9FDSIG00
Kennedy cousin Skakel's appeal to challenge lawyer
May 1, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel is hoping to overturn his Connecticut murder conviction with a new appeal challenging the effectiveness of his media-savvy trial attorney, Mickey Sherman.

Skakel, convicted in 2002 of the 1975 death of Martha Moxley in wealthy Greenwich, says he'll file the appeal in the coming weeks. His supporters say Sherman, who was paid $1 million in legal fees, was distracted by the limelight and financial troubles.

Sherman did not return telephone calls for comment. He has said he did everything possible to convince a jury that Skakel was not guilty.

Skakel is serving a term of 20 years to life in prison.
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 10:10:13 PM »

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local-beat/Skakel-Wants-Another-Chance-At-New-Trial-92525394.html
Skakel Wants Another Chance At New Trial
April 30, 2010

Michael Skakel is making another bid for freedom.

Lawyers for the Kennedy cousin have asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its rejection of an appeal of his conviction for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.

Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder in 2002.

Prosecutors say Skakel beat Moxley, then 15, with a golf club in Greenwich where the two were neighbors.

On April 12, the court ruled 4-1 against Skakel's bid for a new trial, saying a claim that two other men committed the murder was not credible.

Skakel's attorneys want all seven State Supreme Court Justices to reconsider the appeal.

A state's attorney says she will respond to the appeal in court.
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 02:55:32 PM »

http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Sherman-on-the-defensive-as-Skakel-trial-begins-4438704.php
Sherman on the defensive as Skakel trial begins
April 16, 2013

VERNON -- Estranged from his former client Michael Skakel -- the Kennedy cousin serving 20 years to life in prison for the 1975 slaying of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley -- celebrity lawyer Mickey Sherman mounted a different kind of defense Tuesday.

On the opening day of testimony in Skakel's civil trial, Sherman defended himself under oath against allegations of legal malpractice. Skakel's current defense team has filed a habeas corpus petition with the state Superior Court in Vernon in the latest bid to free the 52-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Skakel Kennedy.

Hubert Santos, who replaced Sherman in the case, grilled his predecessor on how many murder suspects he had previously defended before representing Skakel in 2002.

Sherman's answer was "seven or eight," but he struggled to list the names of his former defendants.

"You can't remember the names of murder cases that went to verdict?" Santos asked incredulously.

Sherman came up with two names.
 ::snipping2::
The claim that Sherman bungled Skakel's defense is the basis for the habeas corpus petition, which is often used as a last resort when trying to overturn convictions.

The latest act of the long-running courtroom drama is playing out 15 minutes northeast of Hartford in Rockville, a sleepy hamlet that is part of the town of Vernon, where all habeas corpus cases in the state are adjudicated.

Skakel, who is imprisoned at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institute in Suffield, changed into a charcoal-colored suit and white starched shirt for the first day of the trial.

Dorthy Moxley, 80, who fought for decades to bring her daughter's killer to justice, jotted down notes from the fourth row of the courtroom gallery.
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 12:33:20 PM »

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Lawyer-Skakel-s-temper-prevented-his-testimony-4444451.php
Lawyer: Skakel's temper prevented his testimony
April 18, 2013


VERNON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut trial attorney has defended his decision not to have Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel testify at his 2002 murder trial, saying he has a temper.

Attorney Michael Sherman says he wasn't worried Skakel would "blow up," but he was concerned he could show anger and the jury would see that.

Sherman says Skakel agreed he probably shouldn't testify. Skakel's current attorney says he wanted to testify.

Sherman disclosed that Skakel's ex-wife had planned a book saying she married a killer. He says he thwarted the proposed book, which he says wasn't credible.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 12:36:49 PM »

http://articles.courant.com/2013-04-17/news/hc-skakel-hearing-0418-20130417_1_skakel-trial-lawyer-skakel-family-members-mickey-sherman
Skakel Trial Lawyer's Love Of Media Spotlight At Issue In Hearing
April 17, 2013

(2 pgs)
VERNON — — Months before Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel went to trial in 2002 for the 1975 murder of his teenage neighbor Martha Moxley, his lawyer, Mickey Sherman, told a Las Vegas audience, "I like to enjoy myself doing these things."

Lawyers representing Skakel in his latest bid for freedom seized on those words during a hearing Wednesday in Superior Court in Rockville on Skakel's claim that Sherman was ineffective at trial.



Lawyer Hubert J. Santos used a recording from Sherman's October 2001 lecture at a meeting of the Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in an attempt to show that Sherman was "mesmerized" by the media spotlight and spent more time talking to journalists, attending social functions and traveling instead of preparing for Skakel's defense.

State's attorneys had objected to the tape being used as evidence but the judge allowed it.

During the lecture, Sherman played a litany of television broadcasts about the Skakel case for the audience in conjunction with a folksy narrative in which he made fun of some of the segments as well as himself.

He recalled on the audiotape "getting beaten up by Katie Couric," or "Miss Nice," as he called her during one TV interview. He said he "took a pass" on appearing on "The View" but took up publisher Tina Brown's offer to trade an interview for "Talk" magazine for access to "the Academy Awards and all the cool parties," including a "Sex and the City" launch party.

Sherman said he told Brown she was "playing" him "like a fine Stradivarius" to get the interview, and it was working.

On the tape, he criticized various journalists and their focus on Skakel's Kennedy ties while discussing books, articles and websites about the case. He joked about his new-found notoriety.

"I'm like one notch below Bin Laden on these message boards," Sherman told the crowd. "I can do no right with these people."

When a TV reporter called Sherman's cross-examination of a witness "brilliant," Sherman asked the audience, "Did everyone hear that?" and they laughed.

Sherman told the crowd that renowned defense attorney Barry Scheck had warned him at the time to "keep below the radar" and "keep television appearances down."

Skakel family members seated in the courtroom gallery laughed when Santos questioned Sherman about why he rented a beach cabana in Florida for his pre-trial interviews with Skakel and why he had his motorcycle shipped there. Testimony showed that Sherman had traveled several times to Florida and California and other locales beginning in 1998 and up until the 2002 trial.

Sherman insisted the trips were not for personal reasons and said his motorcycle was shipped so he would not have to rent a car.


"The bottom line is I was there for Michael Skakel. ... I was doing my job," Sherman said.

Under cross-examination by Fairfield County Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Susann E. Gill, Sherman said he was hired by the Skakel family in part because "they wanted a lawyer who was media-savvy."

"I received nothing but positive feedback from the family," Sherman said.

During a court break, Sherman said the topic at the Las Vegas meeting he was asked to speak at was about how lawyers should handle the media in high-profile cases.

"It was meant to be entertainment," he said. "That was pretty clear."

When asked why he spoke about the case prior to trial, something defense lawyers often avoid, Sherman responded: "Everyone in the world knew about the case, there was no way not to. The question is, did I say anything inappropriate?"

Cross-examination of Sherman continues Thursday.

Skakel's latest bid for freedom stems from a petition he filed for a writ of habeas corpus in which Skakel argues that he was wrongly imprisoned owing to constitutional defects at his trial, including that Sherman was ineffective in his defense of Skakel. Such a petition is often a convict's last resort to get a verdict overturned or a prison sentence reduced.

Skakel alleges that Sherman failed to investigate potentially exculpatory evidence, failed to challenge the use of certain evidence at trial, gave poor closing arguments, was incompetent in his selection of jurors and failed to properly prepare defense witnesses for their testimony.

Sherman's testimony on Wednesday was halted for a short time when Santos brought witness Constance Narayanan to the witness stand. Narayanan did not testify at Skakel's 2002 trial.

On Wednesday she recalled to Judge Thomas Bishop that while attending the controversial former Elan School for troubled youths in Maine, she witnessed students "beating Michael alive" with a wooden paddle. They also forced him to wear signs saying, "I killed Martha Moxley," she said.

She said she was brutalized at the school, as well, and had to be hospitalized for her injuries. She said for three months she had to wear a straitjacket and still suffers from mental health issues.
More...
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 12:40:10 PM »

http://www.ctnow.com/news/hc-michael-skakel-day3-hearing-0419-20130418,0,186096.story
Trial Lawyer Insists He Did Advise Skakel On His Right To Testify At 2002 Trial
April 18, 2013



VERNON—
Greenwich attorney Mickey Sherman testified Tuesday that he advised Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel of his right to testify at his 2002 murder trial, contradicting Skakel, who is arguing the point in his latest bid for freedom.

During cross-examination Thursday, Sherman elaborated on his decision to keep Skakel off the witness stand, saying Skakel's testimony was not necessary because of statements Skakel had already made about the 1975 murder of his neighbor, Martha Moxley.
And, Sherman said, he worried how Skakel would do under cross-examination by prosecutors.
"He does have a temper, he does get excited," Sherman testified before Judge Thomas Bishop in Superior Court in Rockville.

And while he said he did not think Skakel would "blow up" on the stand, he feared he would "get mad as he was so entitled to" because Skakel was innocent, Sherman said. He said he wanted jurors to see Skakel as a "sedate, nice man."

As it was, there was a story "in his words, by his voice" out there — about how Skakel climbed a tree on the Moxley property and masturbated the night of the murder — that said Skakel "did something creepy" but that did not mean he killed Moxley, Sherman said.

"What more would come out," with Skakel on the stand, "that would be helpful?" Sherman asked Fairfield County Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Susann E. Gill.

After discussing those issues with his client, Sherman said, Skakel "felt he should probably not testify," Sherman said.

During Sherman's testimony, Skakel, seated at the defense table, shook his head in apparent disagreement.

Gill used Sherman's testimony Thursday to counter Skakel's claim in a habeas corpus petition that Sherman did a poor job during Skakel's trial and among other failures, failed to advise Skakel of his right to testify.

Such a petition, often known as a writ of last resort, is a bid to get a verdict overturned or a prison sentence reduced.
 ::snipping2::
Skakel was not charged with Moxley's murder until 2000, when he was 39. His trial received widespread publicity because of his ties to the Kennedys.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2013, 11:20:16 PM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/26/17925187-kennedy-cousin-michael-skakel-slams-lawyer-during-murder-conviction-appeal?lite
Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel slams lawyer during murder conviction appeal
April 26, 2013


Jason Rearick / AP
Michael Skakel attacked the lawyer who represented him at his original trial for murder when he testified at an appeal hearing on Thursday.

 ::snipping2::
In his latest appeal, Skakel argued trial attorney Michael Sherman failed to competently defend him when he was convicted in 2002 of killing his Greenwich neighbor in 1975 when they were both 15.
Skakel blamed Sherman for making poor jury picks and failing to track down and call witnesses, including singer Michael Bolton and actor Harrison Ford.
Skakel, the 52-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, is serving 20 years to life for the golf club bludgeoning of Martha Moxley.
Skakel, who did not testify at his trial, seemed eager to unload as he took the witness stand.
Skakel said Sherman told him that he would never go to trial, saying, "you'll never see the inside of a courtroom."
When he did, he said, Sherman put a police officer and a woman whose friend's mother knew the victim's mother on the jury despite his objections.
Skakel said Sherman took photos of the judge and jury with a pen camera and had him sign an autograph.
e said Sherman did not give him a chance to review evidence in the case. When Sherman visited Skakel at his Florida home, they would mostly talk about money and golf, Skakel said.
"He wanted a war chest. He said we needed $5 million bucks," he said.
Skakel's current attorney argues that Sherman had significant financial troubles at the time and didn't devote enough money to defend the case.
Sherman says he did all he could to prevent Skakel's conviction. Sherman sat with his arms crossed as Skakel testified and is due to take the stand Friday to respond to Skakel's claims.
Hatfields and McCoys
Skakel said he was adamant that Sherman track down other former classmates to challenge a claim that he confessed to the crime while attending a reform school in Maine in the late 1970s, but Sherman failed to find them.
One classmate, Gregory Coleman, testified that Skakel confessed to killing Moxley and said he would get away with murder because "I'm a Kennedy."
Skakel said Sherman failed to use an argument that a Skakel would never brag about being a Kennedy "because the Kennedys and the Skakels are much like the Hatfields and the McCoys."
Skakel said he demanded Sherman hire an expert to highlight brutal conditions at the reform school but Sherman didn't.
"It was imperative because there's no logical way a person who has never been there could possibly comprehend the magnitude of the insanity that went on in such a place," Skakel said. "It was a mad house."
Skakel said that Sherman had visited him in prison after his conviction and admitted messing up his jury picks.
Sherman told him about a dinner he had with a former classmate from the reform school, which had been attended by Ford and Bolton. Sherman said the classmate admitted that Skakel never confessed while at the reform school, Skalel said.
He said Sherman could have called Ford and Bolton to testify.
Skakel's defense also argues that Sherman ignored a claim by a former classmate of Skakel's that implicated two other men in the killing.
Dorthy Moxley, the victim's mother, has attended the trial every day and takes notes while listening with the aid of a hearing device.
"I don't think you can believe much of what he says," she said.
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2013, 08:34:32 AM »

I'm not convinced on this case . . . but I don't need to be convinced . . . a jury was.
Interesting commentary about his attorney . . . good gravy . . . 5 million dollars? and Hatfields and McCoys?
 
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 12:42:11 PM »

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Kennedy-cousin-prosecutors-argue-murder-appeal-4745850.php
Kennedy cousin, prosecutors argue murder appeal
August 20, 2013

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut prosecutors say Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's 2002 murder conviction was based on compelling evidence and was not the fault of his trial attorney.

Skakel argues the case was weak and that trial attorney Michael Sherman failed to competently defend him when he was convicted of killing his Greenwich neighbor in 1975, when they were 15. Skakel is serving 20 years to life for the golf club bludgeoning of Martha Moxley.
 
Prosecutors filed court papers last week and Skakel's attorney filed them last month. A judge is expected to rule by December on whether Skakel deserves a new trial.
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2013, 09:20:57 PM »

http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/general/apnewsbreak-skakel-wins-new-trial-in-1975-killing/nbW9g/
Kennedy cousin Skakel wins new trial in 1975 death
October 23, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was granted a new trial on Wednesday by a Connecticut judge who ruled his attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was convicted in 2002 of killing his neighbor in 1975.
The ruling by Judge Thomas Bishop marked a dramatic reversal after years of unsuccessful appeals by Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy. Skakel is serving 20 years to life.
Bridgeport State's Attorney John Smriga said prosecutors will appeal the decision.
Skakel's current attorney, Hubert Santos, said he expects to file a motion for bail on Thursday. If a judge approves it, Skakel could then post bond and be released from prison.
 
Skakel argued his trial attorney, Michael Sherman, was negligent in defending him when he was convicted in the golf club bludgeoning of Martha Moxley when they were 15 in wealthy Greenwich.
Prosecutors contended Sherman's efforts far exceeded standards and that the verdict was based on compelling evidence against Skakel.
John Moxley, the victim's brother, said the ruling took him and his family by surprise and they hope the state wins an appeal.
"Having been in the courtroom during the trial, there were a lot of things that Mickey Sherman did very cleverly," Moxley said about Skakel's trial lawyer. "But the evidence was against him. And when the evidence is against you, there's almost nothing you can do.
"I don't care if it was Perry Mason," Moxley said. "The state had the evidence. It was his own words and deeds that led to the conviction."
In his ruling, the judge wrote that defense in such a case requires attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense.
"Trial counsel's failures in each of these areas of representation were significant and, ultimately, fatal to a constitutionally adequate defense," Bishop wrote. "As a consequence of trial counsel's failures as stated, the state procured a judgment of conviction that lacks reliability."
Among other issues, the judge wrote that the defense could have focused more on Skakel's brother, Thomas, who was an early suspect in the case because he was the last person seen with Moxley. Had Sherman done so, "there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have been different," the judge wrote.
During a state trial in April on the appeal, Skakel took the stand and blasted Sherman's handling of the case, portraying him as an overly confident lawyer having fun and basking in the limelight while making fundamental mistakes from poor jury picks to failing to track down key witnesses.
Santos argued that the prosecutors' case rested entirely on two witnesses of dubious credibility who came forward with stories of confessions after 20 years and the announcement of a reward. Skakel had an alibi, he said.
Santos contends Sherman was "too enamored with the media attention to focus on the defense." Sherman told criminal defense attorneys at a seminar in Las Vegas six months before the trial that one of his goals in representing Skakel was to have a "good time," Santos said.
Sherman has said he did all he could to prevent Skakel's conviction and denied he was distracted by media attention in the high-profile case.
Santos contends Sherman failed to obtain or present evidence against earlier suspects, failed to sufficiently challenge the state's star witness and other testimony and made risky jury picks including a police officer.
Prosecutors countered that Sherman spent thousands of hours preparing the defense, challenged the state on large and small legal issues, consulted experts and was assisted by some of the state's top lawyers. Sherman attacked the state's evidence, presented an alibi and pointed the finger at an earlier suspect, prosecutors said.
"This strategy failed not because of any fault of Sherman's, but because of the strength of the state's case," prosecutor Susann Gill wrote in court papers.
The state's case included three confessions and nearly a dozen incriminating statements by Skakel over the years, Gill said. She also said there was strong evidence of motive.
"His drug-addled mental state, coupled with the infuriating knowledge that his hated brother Tommy had a sexual liaison with Martha, and the fact that Martha spurned his advances, triggered the rage which led him to beat her to death with a golf club," Gill wrote.
 
Skakel, who maintains his innocence, was denied parole last year and was told he would not be eligible again to be considered for release for five years.
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2013, 09:32:28 PM »

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/28/the-kennedy-court-stunner-that-shouldn-t-have-been.html
The Kennedy Court Stunner
October 28, 2013

Celebrity attorney Mickey Sherman got a stinging rebuke when a judge ordered the 1975 murder conviction of his client, a Camelot cousin, to be retried. Rikki Klieman says it's a baffling decision.

There are few things that can shock former prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers. We think we’ve seen and heard it all. Yet last Wednesday I was speechless when I learned that the conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel for the 1975 murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley was set aside and a new trial was granted.
This momentous decision occurred in the most rare of circumstances, the last resort of a criminal defendant who had exhausted every remedy: a writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Connecticut Judge Thomas Bishop wrote a 136-page opinion excoriating the work of Skakel’s attorney Mickey Sherman, who went on to become a prominent legal analyst. When you take a good look at the basis for the reversal, you see that Judge Bishop simply thought there was a better way to try the case. The judge would have employed a different set of tactics and strategic decisions than Sherman. He simply thought Sherman’s approach was wrong.

Since when is that an appropriate constitutional ground for reversal? Cases have been brought for ineffective assistance or inadequate representation in which lawyers in death penalty cases were drunk, asleep, or barely engaged in their work. No reversals there. In order to prevail on such an allegation, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, a defendant must not only show his lawyer wasn’t doing his job but must also show that the trial’s outcome would have been different. That’s an almost impossible standard. Yet Judge Bishop found the standard was met here, believing the finger should have been pointed at Michael’s brother, Tommy Skakel, and that an alibi defense witness was not pursued vigorously.
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2013, 11:14:45 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/kennedy-cousin-michael-skakel-poised-for-freedom-in-1975-killing-while-he-awaits-new-trial/2013/11/20/0c9d30f8-51fb-11e3-9ee6-2580086d8254_story.html
Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel poised for freedom in 1975 killing while he awaits new trial
November 20, 2013

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel is expected to be released from prison this week while prosecutors appeal a ruling granting him a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley, the latest dramatic development in a case with an extraordinary history.

Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, has spent more than 11 years in prison. A bond hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Stamford Superior Court for Skakel, who has been serving 20 years to life and was denied parole last year.
 

Judge Thomas Bishop ruled last month in Vernon Superior Court that Skakel’s trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to adequately represent Skakel in 2002 when his client was convicted in Moxley’s death. She was bludgeoned with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when she and Skakel were 15.

Thursday’s hearing is expected to focus on the terms and conditions of his release from prison.

The ruling caught Moxley’s family by surprise after a decade of unsuccessful appeals by Skakel’s attorneys. Moxley’s 81-year-old mother, Dorthy, is resigned to Skakel being released.

“If he gets out on bail, he gets out on bail,” Mrs. Moxley said, noting Skakel has a good prison record. “I just think he ought to serve his punishment. There’s no doubt in my mind that he did it. A little justice for Martha is not asking a lot.”

John Moxley, the victim’s brother, said he and his mother will attend the hearing, and he expects Skakel to be released.

Skakel’s attorney, Hubert Santos, has argued that Skakel should be released immediately, saying the ruling makes him an innocent defendant awaiting trial and that he is not a flight risk. Santos also argued prosecutors are highly unlikely to win their appeal, a contention prosecutors dispute.

Skakel has maintained his innocence.

Skakel’s older brother Thomas was an early suspect in the case because he was the last person seen with the victim, but Michael Skakel was charged a quarter century after the killing. The case was considered a tough one for prosecutors because of the age of the crime, no forensic evidence and other challenges. But Skakel was convicted after a trial that focused on testimony that he confessed or made incriminating statements over the years.

A year after Skakel was found guilty, a former classmate implicated two friends in the killing. A judge later rejected an appeal, ruling the claim was not credible.

In the latest ruling, Bishop said Skakel’s defense should have focused more on Thomas. He also said Sherman failed to locate a witness who backed up Skakel’s alibi that he was at his cousin’s house the night of the murder and failed to find a man who challenged the claim by the star witness that Skakel confessed.

Prosecutors and Sherman defended his handling of the case.
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 01:59:08 PM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/21/21561451-michael-skakel-a-kennedy-cousin-ordered-freed-on-12-million-bond?lite
Michael Skakel, a Kennedy cousin, ordered freed on $1.2 million bond
November 21, 2013



Undated photo of Martha Moxley released as evidence during the trial of Michael Skakel

After 11 years behind bars for the 1975 murder of teenager Martha Moxley, Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was ordered released on $1.2 million bond Thursday while he awaits a new trial.
There was a smattering of applause as Skakel, 53, was led out of the courtroom to post bond. He did not speak but a statement from his family said his release would be "the first step in correcting a terrible wrong."
 
Skakel, the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow has been in a maximum-security prison since being convicted of murdering Moxley when they were both 15 years old and neighbors in tony Greenwich, Conn.
That verdict was overturned last month after Skakel successfully argued in an appeal that his trial lawyer did a poor job of representing him in 2002.
Prosecutors are appealing that decision but said they did not have any legal basis for opposing Skakel's release on bond. However, they argued the defense's request for a $500,000 bond was too low given the Skakel family's wealth.
"It was a particularly brutal crime," prosecutor John Smirga said, suggesting a figure closer to $2 million would be more appropriate.
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2018, 09:48:27 PM »

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-skakel-case-new-murder-trial-ordered-for-kennedy-cousin/
Michael Skakel case: Court throws out conviction of Kennedy cousin
May 4, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. -- In a stunning reversal, the Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich. The court issued a 4-3 ruling Friday that Skakel's trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to present evidence of an alibi.

The decision reversed the high court's previous ruling in December 2016 that reinstated Skakel's conviction after a lower court ordered a new trial, citing mistakes by Sherman.

Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of murder in 2002 in the bludgeoning death of Martha Moxley in their wealthy Greenwich neighborhood in 1975, when they were teenagers. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, but was freed on $1.2 million bail after the lower court overturned his murder conviction in 2013.

CBS News' "48 Hours," which has followed the case closely over the years, reports that members of the Skakel family are happy with the decision and are now waiting for the state attorney general to decide if they will re-prosecute the case.

The case has drawn international attention because of the Kennedy name, Skakel's rich family, numerous theories about who killed Moxley and the brutal way in which she died. Several other people, including Skakel's brother Tommy Skakel, have been mentioned as possible killers.

Skakel's appellate lawyer, Hubert Santos, had asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its 2016 ruling, resulting in Friday's decision.

Santos argued that Sherman made poor decisions, including not focusing on Skakel's brother as a possible suspect and failing to attempt to contact an alibi witness. Santos said Skakel was several miles away from the crime scene watching a Monty Python movie with friends when Moxley was bludgeoned with a golf club.

Santos also has said there was no physical evidence or eyewitnesses linking Skakel to the killing.

Sherman has defended his work, and state prosecutors have argued he did an adequate job. The Associated Press left a message with him Friday seeking comment on the ruling.

Writing for the majority, Justice Richard Palmer said Skakel was prejudiced in the case by Sherman's failure to obtain alibi testimony from witness Denis Ossorio.

"Without Ossorio's testimony, the state was able to attack the petitioner's (Skakel's) alibi - a complete alibi for the time period during which it is highly likely that the victim was murdered - as part of a Skakel family conspiracy to cover up the petitioner's involvement in the victim's murder," Palmer wrote.

Moxley's brother, John Moxley, told the AP that he was disappointed with the ruling and that it was too soon to say what the family would want next in the case.

"I don't know what the next steps are. My mom is getting older. I just don't think she has the strength to go with this," said Moxley, 59.

He said he would not trade places with Skakel for anything.

"He'll be in jail for the rest of his life," Moxley said. "He may not be physically in jail. He may be walking the streets, but he'll be in hell at some point."
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