by | last updated on January 21, 2016

On October 23, a Connecticut judge ordered a new trial for Michael Skakel, nephew of Ethel Kennedy who was convicted and sentenced in 2002 to 20 years in prison in for the 1975 killing of Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old Greenwich neighbor who was bludgeoned to death with a golf club.Judge Thomas A. Bishop ruled that Skakel received ineffective counsel in his trial for the murder from high-profile attorney Michael “Mickey” Sherman. Bishop said Sherman had acted “in a myriad of ways ineffective.”  Judge Bishop wrote that Sherman failed to pursue an alibi defense, failed to challenge two witnesses who said Skakel confessed to the murder, failed to prepare an effective closing argument and failed to mention reasonable doubt to the jury.”The defense of a serious felony prosecution requires attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense that is capably executed,” the judge wrote. “Trial counsel’s failures in each of these areas of representation were significant and, ultimately, fatal to a constitutionally adequate defense. As a consequence of trial counsel’s failures as stated, the state procured a judgment of conviction that lacks reliability.”Herbert J. Santos, Skakel’s current attorney, filed a motion for bail to have his client released while awaiting for his new trial.

According to reports in the N.Y. Times, Martha Moxley’s family members were frustrated with the turn of events after so many of Skakel’s appeals had failed.

“It’s just amazing that you have all these appeals, the appellate courts, all these different very sophisticated judges, and then, you know, a judge in a sleepy little town way upstate in Connecticut completely upsets the apple cart,” said Martha’s brother John. “But we’ll get through this. There’s no question that Michael’s guilty.”

In Florida, people seeking post-conviction relief on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel only have two-years to file their pleadings.  Robert Malove has experience in handling appeals and post-conviction matters.  To arrange a private consultation, please call 888-744-8225.