Skakel Will Seek Sentence Reduction

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will seek a reduction in his sentence of 20 years to life in prison for killing his neighbor when they were teenagers in 1975.

Skakel, a nephew of Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, is scheduled to appear Tuesday before a three-judge panel in Middletown that reviews sentences.

Skakel was sentenced in 2002 after he was convicted of bludgeoning 15-year-old Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich. Moxley’s brother and mother are expected to attend the hearing.

Prosecutor Susann Gill said she would argue the sentence was appropriate.

Messages were left Monday with Skakel’s attorney, Hope Seeley.

Skakel has tried unsuccessfully for years to get his conviction overturned. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 2010 against Skakel’s bid for a new trial, saying a claim implicating two other men in the killing was not credible.

Skakel blasted prosecutors and his former attorney during a court hearing last year and insisted on his innocence. He spoke by video conference from prison as part of an appeal claiming his trial attorney, Michael Sherman, was incompetent.

Skakel, who has a son, said prosecutors “want me here for the rest of my life for something I didn’t do.”

“They have disparaged me for the past 10 years, deprived me of my liberty and my child, my freedom, my good reputation, and I don’t understand their motivation in trying to take my attorneys from me,” Skakel said.

Skakel said he was shocked once he obtained new attorneys after his conviction to realize “how absolutely incompetent Mr. Sherman was in everything he did.”

Sherman has said he did all he could to prevent Skakel’s conviction.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • George Thompson

    Michael Skakel should NEVER have been tried or sentenced as an adult in the first place. The law was changed after the alleged crime took place and the sentencing guidelines used were for the new Statute. Kind of like changing the rules of the game after the clock has turned to zero.

  • Perry Masonjar

    @George; wouldn’t that make it worthwhile for people to hire kids just under 18 years old to commit murder for them? Apparently, you think you know more about the law than the judge. Why would a judge make such a ‘mistake’ ( your opinion ) in such a visible murder trial? Wouldn’t the defense already have raised this at trial? Don’t quit your day job to become a lawyer.

    General comment:
    To prevent repeated abuse of the legal system of appealing convictions, the legislature should enact a statute that increases the sentence of a convict who makes an unsuccessful appeal if the original sentence was not the maximum statutorily allowed sentence for that crime. The increase in the sentence could be one or two years for each failed appeal. The inmate would also be forced to perform labor in a prison workshop to offset the court costs, up to a set number of hours; e.g. 2000 hours.

  • George Thompson

    How would you like it if the only evidence against you was from a convicted felon who testified that you bragged about killing the Moxley girl? Oh, and I receive a get-out-of-jail-free card for my very timely testimony. If I want to get out of jail you don’t think I would have any reason to lie would you? From the very beginning, this whole case has stunk to high heaven.
    General comment: Perry, I value your observations, but, did you ever wonder how many people plead guilty to crimes they may not be guilty of rather than risk being wrongly convicted of a more serious crime?
    Did you ever wonder how many innocent people are locked up right now among the over 2 million people in jail (Most for non-violent crimes)? Don’t you wonder why the USA has a larger percentage of its population in jail then any civilized country in the world? If most of the people in jail are uneducated, why are we cutting the education budgets in cities and towns and further ensuring a constant flow of ignorant inmates into our prison system? If a large percentage of our inmates are drug dependent, why are we building more and bigger prisons instead of providing more drug treatment facilities to treat the problem? If joblessness is one of the core problems of criminal recidivism, why are we not training people to work at jobs that will give them a chance to earn a decent living and become a worthwhile member of society? Also Perry, just from my observations as a police officer for most of my adult life, I can tell you that mistakes are made and when that happens, the person who is wronged is entitled to a Mulligan. The courts are a real life game of jeopardy and courts can, and do, right some of the mistakes that are made. No system is perfect, but we should try to make it as close to perfection as possible.

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