Conn. Supreme Court to hear appeal in Skakel case

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s murder conviction and denial of bail, lawyers said Wednesday.

Skakel’s appeals were transferred from the state Appellate Court to the state’s highest court Tuesday.

Skakel, a nephew of the late Robert F. Kennedy, was convicted in June of beating Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors in 1975. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison last month, more than 2.5 years after his arrest.

His attorneys have cited numerous issues they plan to raise on appeal, including a statute of limitations and the transfer of the case from juvenile to adult court.

Skakel, 42, has also asked the court to review a judge’s decision to deny him bond while he appeals the conviction.

In making the transfer to the state’s highest court, officials said the Supreme Court under state law hears appeals of convictions of felonies that carry maximum sentences of more than 20 years.

Bridgeport State’s Attorney Jonathan Benedict said he expected the appeals to be transferred to the Supreme Court, which often takes appeals of major crimes. Benedict noted that the Supreme Court has already heard arguments on the juvenile transfer issue before the trial.

“I’d be surprised if the Supreme Court didn’t take it up,” Benedict said.

The state Supreme Court refused last year to rule on the issue of transferring the case from juvenile court to adult court, saying it could not act until a verdict had been reached.

By taking the case directly, the Supreme Court expedites the appeals process because any decision by the Appellate Court likely would be appealed to the Supreme Court by the losing side, attorneys noted.

Skakel’s attorneys filed legal papers last week citing the issues they plan to raise on appeal. The formal appeal is expected to be filed in a few months.

Oral arguments on the appeal are not expected until next year. It is unclear when the court will rule on the bail review issue.

Skakel is being held at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.

–Associated Press

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