Michael Skakel’s murder conviction was vacated last year
The US Supreme Court will not hear the case of reinstating the vacated murder conviction against Kennedy family cousin Michael Skakel.
In May of 2018, Skakel’s 2002 murder conviction and 20-years-to-life sentence were overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court, who said they found “Skakel was deprived of his right to effective assistance of counsel because his attorneys did not investigate a potential alibi witness who could have helped his defense.”
Skakel was officially convicted of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley in 2002 after the court case began two years earlier. Skakel, the nephew of Robert Kennedy's wife Ethel, was sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison for the crime.
In 2013, Skakel was released from prison on $1.2 million bail when a judge overturned the original 2002 conviction, citing errors made by lead attorney Michael Sherman.
One of the main sticking points of overturning the conviction was the failure to have one particular witness testify, who could apparently confirm Skakel's alibi.
In 2016, Skakel’s conviction was reinstated by the Connecticut Supreme Court who ruled 4-3 that Skakel was adequately represented throughout the course of the trial.
In 2018, the conviction against Skakel was vacated. With the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, the 2018 decision to vacate Skakel’s murder charges will stand.
Dorthy Moxley, the 86-year-old mother of Martha, said she was “disappointed” the US Supreme Court would not hear the case.
“The state of Connecticut had a very, very, very good case, and we absolutely know who killed Martha,” she said.
“If Michael Skakel came from a poor family, this would have been over. But because he comes from a family of means they’ve stretched this out all these years.”
While the Connecticut Supreme Court could attempt to re-try Skakel, Roman Martinez, Skakel’s appellate lawyer, said he hoped Connecticut prosecutors would decide against it.
“Over the past 10 years, two Connecticut courts — including the Connecticut Supreme Court — have painstakingly reviewed every detail of Michael Skakel’s case,” Martinez said.
“Both reached the same conclusion: Michael’s conviction violated the U.S. Constitution.”