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Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:33 AM

Prosecutors request reinstatement of Kennedy cousin murder conviction


Prosecutors request reinstatement of Kennedy cousin murder conviction
By Reuters
Saturday, August 9, 2014 17:01 EDT
By Richard Weizel

HARTFORD Conn. (Reuters) – Connecticut prosecutors appealed to the state Supreme Court late on Friday to reinstate Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s 2002 conviction on a charge of murdering his neighbor when they were both 15. A state judge overturned verdict last year.

The prosecutors, in a 249-page appeal brief, challenged a decision last October by Judge Thomas Bishop ordering a new trial for Skakel. He ruled that Skakel’s defense team did not provide adequate representation during his trial in 2002.

“A careful review of the record makes clear that his (Bishop’s) disregard of their reasoned, strategic decision is indefensible,” prosecutors from the state’s attorney’s office wrote in their appeal. “Simply put, if the level of representation (Skakel) received falls short of Sixth Amendment standards, no Connecticut conviction can be considered reliable.”

Skakel, a 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, was freed last November on a $1.2 million bond after serving 11 years of a in prison for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley in a wealthy neighborhood of Greenwich, Connecticut. He had been sentenced to between 20 years and life in prison. Moxley was bludgeoned to death with a golf club.

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