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Judge To Let Media in Skakel Hearing

March 10, 2000

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A judge’s ruling Friday will allow the media in the courtroom when a 39-year-old nephew of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is arraigned as a juvenile on charges he murdered a 15-year-old girl in 1975.

Judge Maureen Dennis’ decision was in response to a request by five newspapers and The Associated Press to open the juvenile proceeding to the public, something prosecutors and defense lawyers say they cannot remember happening before in Connecticut.

Michael Skakel is charged as a juvenile in the case because he was 15 at the time his Greenwich neighbor Martha Moxley was bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

The judge agreed with the news organizations’ argument that Skakel has already effectively waived his juvenile confidentiality rights because he is an adult and because his name and the charges against him were made public by his own attorney.

Skakel’s lawyer, Michael Sherman, filed an affidavit last month in which Skakel says he does not object to holding the hearings in public. Sherman said Skakel wants the proceeding open so the public can hear his side of the story.

The newspapers that sought to open the hearing are The New York Times, The Hartford Courant, Newsday, The Advocate of Stamford and the Greenwich Time.

The arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday, will be moved from a juvenile courtroom to Stamford Superior Court.

____

On the Net: State of Connecticut Judicial Branch: http://www.jud.state.ct.us.

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