BAD LAWYERING

Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel’s Murder Conviction Vacated

The Connecticut Supreme Court has overturned Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s 43-year-old murder conviction for the death of Martha Moxley, according to the Hartford Courant. The court ruled 4-3 that Skakel’s trial lawyer was “so ineffective that his right to a fair trial was violated.” Sixteen months ago, the same court took the opposite position—deciding that his trial lawyer was competent—in a 4-3 decision. In today’s majority ruling, Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote that lawyer Michael Sherman “was so far beneath the accepted standard of professional competence that the jury’s guilty verdict cannot be relied upon.” Skakel, who was accused of beating Moxley to death with a golf club, has been free since 2013 while the courts considered his appeal. He will remain free unless state prosecutors decide to “retry him on decades-old evidence.”