Local murder case involving a 1975 death still ongoing

Being convicted of a serious and violent crime will undoubtedly have a devastating and often permanent effect on your life. For those who feel they were wrongfully convicted, the appeals process can seem like it will never end.

According to CBS New York, a Connecticut man has been granted the opportunity to return to court in Stamford, Connecticut, in hopes to convince the judge that she should be released on bond, pending a new trial.

Michael Skakel, a relative of the late Robert Kennedy, has spent 10 years in prison for a violent crime he claims he did not commit. After a seemingly endless series of legal proceedings, Skakel was convicted in 2002, for the murder of a 15-year-old on the eve of Halloween. The incident took place 38 years ago, when the Greenwich girl lost her life and was found beaten and stabbed by a golf club. Skakel was also 15 years old at the time.

The Stamford Advocate reports that a Connecticut Superior Court Judge "shocked many" when he overturned Skakel's conviction, and allowed Skakel a bond hearing, so that he might be released from the prison he has served half of his 20-year sentence in, pending the new trial. The State's Attorney's office will not be appealing the bond hearing, where Skakel seeks to be released on $500,000 bond. His attorneys contend that, due to the nature of the incident and the amount of time that has passed, Skakel is a low flight-risk, and poses no threat to the family of the deceased victim.

Skakel received an overturned conviction, after numerous hearings involving the claim that his trial attorney was negligent, ineffective and did not provide adequate defense on his behalf. According to the Stamford Advocate, the judge was persuaded by the inadequate-defense argument, and explained that because the state's appeal process could cause the new trial to be delayed for months, or even years, Skakel should not be required to remain in jail during that time.

Connecticut State prosecutors plan to dispute the order granting Skakel a new trial, taking the position that he was properly convicted in 2002, and was properly determined to be guilty. The mother of the deceased, now 81 years old, expressed her opinion to the Stamford Advocate, that Skakel's defense attorney, "did not do that bad a job and Michael should still be in jail."

When a trial involving a violent crime gains a great deal of press, it is easy for the public to believe a suspect is guilty, even without witnessing the crime or knowing all of the details. Many have made up their minds about a person before they are even convicted. The constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel is rooted in the right to "due process," and has been articulated by the United States Supreme Court in a long series of cases, involving examples of adequate and inadequate assistance.

If you believe you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, you deserve the assistance of an experienced team of lawyers, eager to assist you with your appeals process. Having an attorney on your side, through complicated trials, particularly for serious crimes, can have an important, positive impact on the outcome of your case.