1975 murder trial suspect granted new trial

Dunlap
Bill Dunlap

A Connecticut judge has ordered a new trial for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, ruling his attorney failed to represent Skakel adequately during the 2002 trial for killing his neighbor, Martha Moxley, in 1975. Law Professor Bill Dunlap is available to comment.

"I was surprised because it's really very difficult for a defendant to get a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel", said Dunlap. "Skakel doesn't have to prove his innocence all over again; the prosecution has to prove his guilt all over again. And that becomes harder for the prosecution. The first trial came 17 years, I think, after the killing. Now, this one is going to come another 12 or 13 years after that. And the farther a trial occurs after an event like a murder, the harder it is to find witnesses, witnesses may have died, their memories may have faded, they may have said contradictory things in the meantime.

This story isn't over yet. We are going to be hearing about the Skakel trial probably for years to come now."

To schedule an interview with Dunlap, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, at 203-206-4449 (cell).

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