State To Appeal Skakel Habeas Decision

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Michael Skakel
Michael Skakel

Sherman has said he did all he could to prevent Skakel's conviction and denied he was distracted by media attention in the high-profile case.

Santos contends Sherman failed to obtain or present evidence against earlier suspects, failed to sufficiently challenge the state's star witness and other testimony and made risky jury picks including a police officer.

Prosecutors countered that Sherman spent thousands of hours preparing the defense, challenged the state on large and small legal issues, consulted experts and was assisted by some of the state's top lawyers. Sherman attacked the state's evidence, presented an alibi and pointed the finger at an earlier suspect, prosecutors said.

''This strategy failed not because of any fault of Sherman's, but because of the strength of the state's case,'' prosecutor Susann Gill wrote in court papers.

The state's case included three confessions and nearly a dozen incriminating statements by Skakel over the years, Gill said. She also said there was strong evidence of motive.

''His drug-addled mental state, coupled with the infuriating knowledge that his hated brother Tommy had a sexual liaison with Martha, and the fact that Martha spurned his advances, triggered the rage which led him to beat her to death with a golf club,'' Gill wrote.

Gill said what Sherman did with his personal time was irrelevant. She said the evidence cited by the defense was not significant and that Sherman had sound strategic reasons for his decisions.

Skakel, who maintains his innocence, was denied parole last year and was told he would not be eligible again to be considered for release for five years.

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