One Hand Clapping

Opinion: Skakel Decision A Referendum On The Writ

, The Connecticut Law Tribune


Norm Pattis

Lawyers are whispering now that the Supreme Court will find a reason, any reason at all, to reverse the Skakel decision. It's just too dangerous to let such a ruling stand. Think of all the claims this will encourage.

Skakel plans to seek release on bond. His family certainly has the means to post a substantial bond, and I suspect he will be released. That will be salt in the already never-ending wound the family of Martha Moxley, who was murdered by someone, endures.

The Supreme Court's decision in the Skakel case will serve as a referendum on the liberality of Connecticut's liberal grant of the right to file a writ of habeas corpus. Reversal of the trial court's decision that Sherman was ineffective would serve as a stake to the heart of a much-maligned writ.

There are cases in which lawyers err, and grievously so. This appears to be one of them. There's little doubt that Sherman spent more time in the make-up room primping for prime time than he did pouring over police reports prepping for trial.

All eyes now are on the Supreme Court. Does the writ of habeas corpus mean anything in Connecticut any longer? Or do we value finality of judgments against all else, even the prospect of keeping an innocent man behind bars?•

What's being said

  • William Doriss

    We applaud Judge Bishop's decision in granting the writ of habeas corpus, and the doggednes of Santos-Seeley. The conviction of Skakel was most certainly a false conviction in the "legal" sense, irregardless of who actually murdered Moxley. And it appears as if Mr. Sherman was derelict of his legal duty to defend Skakel to the utmost. However, we are concerned about the prominence of the defendant somehow playing no small part in this ongoing charade. There are plenty of disgruntled defendants in CT who deserve a second bite at the apple, which will never occur in the UnConstitution State--a state in serious denial. Among them are Mr. Ed Grant, whose trial and false conviction in Superior Court New Haven, GA 23, we witnessed, and yours truly. The case number of our second criminal "information" and subsequent conviction, #502506, speaks volumes. That was eleven years ago. What are the case numbers up to today? One million? If only 10% of those half million charges were to deserve the granting of a "writ," that implies 50,000 CT men and women have been and will forever be disappointed by Konnecticut's ludicrous criminal "justice" system. We wonder if Santos-Seeley would be interested in taking up CT v. Doriss, even if were able to afford them? Oh, forget it,... we sought "political
    asylum" in another, neighboring jurisdiction. So far, after ten years, so good!?! A veritable Bermuda Triangle of the [legal] Mind exists in the central CT River Valley.
    Just drive thru on your way to N.Y. or N.J. Don't stop, don't talk to anyone, and don't make any "furtive gestures." Ha.

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