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Lawyers debate bail for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel

Lawyers debate bail for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel
NYP2000031413 - 14 MARCH 2000 - STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT, USA: Michael Skakel, right, and attorney arrive at Fairfield County Couthouse March 14, 2000 to face 25-year-old alleged murder charges against Martha Moxley. rg/ep/Laura Cavanaugh UPI | License Photo

VERNON, Conn., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Connecticut judge who threw out the murder conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel is now considering whether to grant him bail.

Skakel's lawyers asked Superior Court Judge Thomas Bishop for his immediate release Monday, the Hartford Courant reported. Prosecutors argued in a brief filed Wednesday that Skakel is not legally eligible for bail.

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Skakel, nephew of the late Ethel Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., was convicted in 2002 of killing a neighbor's daughter in 1975 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Skakel and Martha Moxley were both 15 when she was battered with a golf club in their upscale Greenwich, Conn., neighborhood.

Bishop granted Skakel a new trial last week, finding that his trial lawyer was incompetent. Under Connecticut law, however, his decision was automatically stayed while the state appeals it.

In their brief, prosecutors argued that means Skakel is still a convicted killer. They said he is "specifically excluded from the class of persons for whom post-conviction bond is available."

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Skakel's current lawyers, Hubert Santos and Jessica Santos, said the Connecticut law barring bail for those convicted of murder does not apply in this case.

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