Michael Skakel verdict in . . .

Well, all I know about the case is that his defense was that at the time of the murder, he was masturbating in a tree!!! And he had witnesses!

Some suspect that Skakel concocted the “masturbating-in-a-tree” story (he claims he was peeping into Martha Moxley’s bedroom from the tree) out of fear that future forensic testing may find his semen on items that were collected in the area under the tree where Martha’s body was found. The theory is that while Skakel may not have sexually assaulted Martha, he may have masturbated after knocking her cold and pulling her pants and underwear down to her ankles, as she was found. But this is an example where the alibi is almost as bad as the criminal charge, since it portrays Skakel as someone who was sexually obsessed with Moxley.

I can easily imagine a Kennedy being surprised at being punished for something. Yet…alot of the impartial observers that came out of that courtroom afterwards seemed to think the conviction came on too little evidence. Due to evidentiary problems, perhaps we ought indeed to consider a statute of limitations on murder. 20 years perhaps?

At the risk of hijacking the thread, I keep hearing from Right Wing Radio, " Ted Kennedy is a murderer! Ted Kennedy is a murderer! Ted Kennedy is a murderer!" Would somebody PLEASE tell me how what he did constituted murder?

Yes, so the answer here is that if he had come forward in 1975 and confessed to his crime, he would have been charged as a juvenile. He failed to do so, and was only brought to justice 27 years later, at which point he was no longer a juvenile. Who is to blame for this? He is. He had many years in which to do the right thing, but well into his adult years he still failed to come forward.

Oh, and he’s no more a Kennedy than I am a (insert random aunt’s married name here). He’s the nephew of a woman who married a Kennedy, and he has cousins who are Kennedys, but he is a Skakel, with no Kennedy blood in him. Any juror putting “anti-Kennedy” feeling into the verdict would be misplacing their energies IMHO.

Put Chappaquiddick into a search engine. Basically drunken driving accident which he walked away from a left a woman to die. GD would be your best bet if you want to start a thread :wink:

A drunken driving accident, as you say. The worst Edward Kennedy could be accused of is driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter. Not murder, which is the intentional killing of someone. But enough of that tangent.

Consider for a moment that the jury got it wrong, and Skakel is indeed innocent of this crime. In this case, your argument is irrevelant. Thus, we cannot depend upon criminals to confess to their crimes. Society must provide the means to conduct a competent and thorough investigation of crimes in order to find their perpetrators. This also implies the need for an established set of laws, with punishments thoughtfully assigned, and I maintain, punishments which will not be changed after a crime is committed.

As for someone else’s comment on the statute of limitations for murder, I too question the lack of one for murder. The reasons we have SoLs, for instance, fading memories, the death of witnesses, are no less relevant for murder than any other crime. Perhaps the severity of punishment for one convicted falsely of murder, due to the above reasons, is in fact a very good argument for a SoL for murder. We protect, say unarmed robbers from facing relatively short prison terms with SoLs; shouldn’t we also protect innocent defendants from spending the rest of their lives in jail if falsely convicted?

I see what you’re saying, notcynical, but on the other hand, murder is a hell of a lot worse than unarmed robbery, too, and I think a decent argument could be made that a good reason not to have SoLs for murder is simply that the heinousness of the crime means that assuming a conviction is possible even 20 years later, the murderer doesn’t go scot free. How you ensure that you don’t jail an innocent person is perhaps a little iffy, but on the other hand… fading memories should make it harder to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, right? So shouldn’t it be harder to wrongfully convict an innocent person 20 years after the fact, in that it should be harder to convict anyone 20 years later?

Heck, consider the Green River Killer back in the Northwest. They had years and years before they caught what might be this huge serial killer, and I, for one, would consider it an absolute travesty if he escaped punishment because of expired SoLs…