Michael Skakel verdict in . . .

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) – Michael Skakel was convicted Friday of beating neighbor Martha Moxley to death in 1975 when both were 15 – a crime that raised speculation he had been shielded by his family ties and opened a window onto the privileged world of Greenwich. Skakel, now 41, slumped slightly as the verdict was read, then straightened. Defense attorney Michael Sherman had his hand on Skakel’s shoulder. Skakel glanced at the jury then at the courtroom audience with a look of surprise on his face and appeared on the verge of tears.

—I don’t really have any thoughts or opinions on this one way or the other, but thought someone out there might be interested. Anyone following the case?

I love it (not neccesarily the verdict, but the method of finding this out. This has been story-1 on the Hartford based news we get and I find out through the SDMB. Ain’t the internet grand).

I doubt the verdict will survive the appeal process. Skakel’s got money on his side and his legal team is bound to find some problem with the way the state prosecuted a 27 year old murder case.

I wonder how much anti-Kennedy feeling went into the verdict?

It’s my understanding that the only reason Skakel was tried as an adult in this case is because they would have no where to put him if he was found guilty in a juvenile court. That one can be tried today, and face a punishment that would not have been in effect at the time the crime was committed, in this case because of the defendants age, is an outrage. It’s absolutely ludicrous that Skakel now faces 25 to life. Maybe he did it, and maybe he didn’t, but the Connecticut prosecutors should be ashamed. But then, that isn’t a trait usually found in prosecutors in such high profile cases, is it?

He did it, he was found guilty. The fact that justice had to wait 26 years is the outrage. And it is nice to see the system work fairly against the rich Of course, it will be appealed.

In the context of what I stated, whether or not he is guilty is irrelevant. What is relevant is that we have a system of laws, for which particular punishments are assigned. You don’t change the rules on someone after he has committed a crime. The courts are there to provide justice, not vengeance.

So what’s the solution, notcynical – simply foregoing punishment for someone who is guilty of a criminal offense committed as a juvenile, because they were able to skirt justice until they’re an adult? Or should we create some whole new set of sentencing guidelines for people in this situation?

I think that the greater outrage is that Skakel would’ve spent maybe six years in jail had he been prosecuted immediately after killing Moxley. How is 25 to life an inappropriate sentence for a killer, regardless of his age when the crime was committed or when prosecuted?

IAAL, and in Georgia, anyone over the age of 12 can be tried as an adult for certain crimes (murder being one of them) without any special procedure- Superior Court has concurrent jurisdiction. So, someone who is 15 and charged with murder can (and likely will) be tried as an adult here. I haven’t kept up with the case from the start, so I don’t know what the law is in Conn, or what it was in 1975. But, most states have provisions that are similar to ours.
That having been said, I was surprised at the verdict myself. However, I’ll bet that Dominick Dunne is overjoyed.

Oh, lordie, that’s right—now we’ll be treated to one of Dominick Dunne’s 25-page “diaries” in Vanity Fair, all about how he and Nancy Reagan talked about the verdict over lunch, while Candice Bergen and Nanacy Kissinger eavesdropped, at Lutece . . .

It may well be a greater outrage that Skakel would’ve only spent six years in jail, but that is not the fault of Skakel, it is the fault (if indeed one considers it a fault at all) of the laws in effect at the time. If the state of Connecticut thought that their laws for trying juveniles in 1975 were wrong, they could’ve changed them. Therein lies the solution of which you asked. Prosecute according to the laws in effect at the time of the crime; modify the laws if they are deemed inappropriate.

I thought that’s what they were doing. I’m positive I heard someone say that on one of the news shows. MSNBC, maybe? I was watching both that and CNN.
The 25-to-life was what he would have received had he been tried as an adult in 1975.
The whole point of trying him as an adult is that there is nowhere to place him if he were found guilty. If he were tried as a juvenile, and found guilty, the laws state that he has to be placed in a juvenile facility. That’s just not possible with a 41-year-old man.

I could be wrong, but I thought that they would not have tried him as an adult in 1975, and that is what I’m basing my argument on. They might have found him guilty, but he would have only faced only a few years in a juvenile center. In any case, I hear that doubts about the legality of trying him in the way they did are again being raised, as they were way before the trial began.

Ugh. We were flipping through the channels last night and were unlucky enough to catch a bit of him on Larry King discussing the verdict. He sounded like he was reviewing a movie: “I’m absolutely thrilled with the verdict…” and other similar statements. The feeling it left me with was a statement on crime and celebrity that I really didn’t want to think about.

That was the main reason, but not the only reason his case was transferred from juvenile court.

“I think we are at a better advantage because he’ll now be judged by a jury of his peers, by 12 people that will look at the evidence, listen to the witnesses, size everything up and use common sense. I have no problem with that,” Mickey Sherman, Skakel’s attorney, said at the time of the lower court’s ruling.

In any case, the Connecticut Supreme Court was unaninmous in its decision to uphold the judge’s ruling that Skakel could be tried as an adult.

you forgot the part where at while at lunch with Nancy, someone pulls hims aside to discuss the Sostass case… again

(is this the name? I forget. The rich guy who was murdered and they blamed his nurse.)

Dominick Dunne wrote a novel based on the Moxley case a few years ago–I can’t remember the name of it now. I’m willing to cut him some slack on this one, given that his own daughter was murdered.

I expected a hung jury, but when they asked to hear the prosecution’s closing argument again, that was a bad sign for Skakel, I thought. By all accounts, the prosecuter did a mediocre job at best throughout the trial but did a kickass closing that tied together all the testimony to demonstrate precisely how Skakel said and knew things that put him at the murder scene. The judge didn’t let them hear the closing again but I guess they put the pieces together themselves.

Now if we could only convict drunken old Ted kennedy for the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne! You may recall that Michael Skakel thought his Kennedy relatives would protect him from prosecution-I guess that didn’t happen!

I agree. I thought such things (ex post facto laws) were expressly forbidden in the constitution? It’s only ten minimum though, not 25.

Another thing that bothers me is that outsiders believe they can fairly judge any criminal based on what they see on the news. Unless you witness every day of trial first hand, I can’t see how one can even claim to be able to make such a decision. I think the worst part is that people presuppose that people such as Skakel did it simply because they’re on trial.

We had a very similar case here in Ohio. A young girl was murdered back in the 70’s and, for reasons that are unclear, the “acknowledged” killer (a juvenile) was never tried. By acknowledged, I mean the investigation was subsequently closed because the Greenhills PD thought they knew who did it. A judge shipped the juvenile to a juvenile detention facility until he reached 18… Apparently judges had a great deal of latitude back then and could ship a person off without being convicted of anything.

An aggressive prosecutor re-opened the case last year (the girl’s name was Rebholz; forget his name), arrested and tried the guy last year. He was acquitted. Most jurors thought he was guilty but after 20 years the evidence was just not sufficient to convict him.

Frankly, I’m not entirely convinced Skakel is guilty. I think he probably killed her, but I was surprised at the verdict. 27 years is a loooong time and the deck was definitely stacked against the prosecutors, IMO. It’s too bad for all parties that DNA sampling wasn’t available then.

DNA sampling works only when you have tissue or bodily fluid to sample. No blood or semen was found on the victim.