HARTFORD (AP) - Connecticut prosecutors plan to appeal the dismissal of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s murder conviction in a 1975 bludgeoning death to the U.S. Supreme Court.
State prosecutor James Killen notified the Connecticut Supreme Court of the planned appeal Tuesday. He said the court was wrong earlier this month when it reversed its own 2016 decision and vacated Skakel’s murder conviction on the ground that Skakel’s trial lawyer failed to call an alibi witness to the stand.
Skakel is a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy. A jury convicted him in 2002 of killing Martha Moxley in a wealthy Greenwich enclave when they were teenagers, and he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
He served 11 years behind bars before being freed on $1.2 million bail in 2013 when a lower court judge overturned his conviction, citing mistakes by trial lawyer Michael Sherman, who has defended his work.
Prosecutors appealed the lower court ruling to the state Supreme Court, which reinstated Skakel’s conviction in December 2016 in a sharply divided 4-3 ruling in which the majority said Sherman’s representation was adequate under the U.S. Constitution.
Skakel’s new lawyers asked the high court to reconsider, resulting in this month’s reversal, which some lawyers and law professors called unusual.