Saturday, April 28, 2007

Julie Amero, Michael Skakel, Hillary Bargar-Strackbein, and Imus

The Courant ran an article about Michael Skakel requesting a new trial.
It has been 31 years since 15-year-old Martha Moxley was bludgeoned to death in the gated Greenwich community of Belle Haven, where she lived diagonally across the street from the Skakel mansion. It has been almost five years since Skakel was convicted of killing her, based largely on the testimony of a teen classmate-turned-heroin addict who came forward more than 20 years after the murder to claim Skakel once said, "I'm going to get away with murder; I'm a Kennedy."

In seven days of hearings before Karazin that concluded Wednesday, Skakel's lawyers, Hope Seeley and Hubert Santos, marshaled evidence of:

A man who claims his two "out-of-control" friends, one of them obsessed with Martha, remained in Belle Haven the night of the killing and later boasted of achieving their fantasy of "going caveman" on a girl. All three men, including the tale's originator-Gitano "Tony" Bryant -invoked their right against self-incrimination during sworn depositions and did not testify during the hearing. Bryant's mother, Barbara, in voluntary discussions with Skakel investigators, said her then 14-year-old son was in Belle Haven that night, and told her his friends, Adolph Hasbrouck and Burton Tinsley, remained behind in Belle Haven after he returned home to New York.

Documents withheld from the defense team during Skakel's 2002 trial that could have shown a jury how seriously investigators considered suspects other than Skakel, including his older brother, Thomas.

A book deal by lead inspector Frank Garr, formalized after the verdict but informally agreed upon with investigative reporter Len Levitt, in 1999. Seeley and Santos said the deal compromised the integrity of the prosecution, and Garr's work on the defense team's claims of newly discovered evidence.

Three former classmates of Skakel's at the controversial Elan School in Maine who dispute the claims by Gregory Coleman that he heard Skakel say he would get away with murder because he's a Kennedy. (Skakel is the nephew of Ethel Skakel Kennedy and the slain presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.) One, John Simpson, said he challenged Coleman's claim the night he made it, and that in reply, Coleman told him Skakel did not answer one way or another but merely grinned.
The last time I commented on a trial where the defense was denied important evidence is the Juile Amero trial that is globally recognized as this century's most outrageous witch-hunt.

The Skakel trial may be this century's worst rich-hunt.

During the Skakel trial, Judge Hillary Strackbein was a juvenile court prosecutor, Hillary Bargar (sometimes Barger in the media). At the time she was widely quoted regarding Michael Skakel's juvenile status at the time of the crime. Less-widely reported is her role as reported here.
In Court Wednesday, Michael Skakel's attorney, Michael Sherman, told Judge Maureen Dennis he did not want to have a full hearing on the matter and later said he had "complete faith" in Goldberg's integrity.

But outside court, he said he was concerned about what he called the prosecution's "stampede to uncover negative information about Michael Skakel."

"I'm concerned about some manner of unbridled prosecutorial efforts to convict Michael Skakel," he said.

Sherman said no juvenile records were found because Skakel was never arrested as a juvenile.

"He has never had a juvenile record _ never did," Sherman said.

Juvenile records are routinely checked by both prosecutors and defense attorneys in all cases as part of trial preparation.

"There was absolutely no impropriety here," said Hillary Bargar, the juvenile prosecutor who requested the records.
I am not so sure. The more I have learned about Connecticut's scales of justice overbearingly tipped toward the prosecution, the more I believe this man was railroaded.

The road to political success in Connecticut and this country is in mining hate. For well over thirty years I would commute to work and listen to one radio talk show hate monger after another bash liberals. But their secondary target was rich people. And Michael Skakel is as distasteful a rich man as they come. The fact that he was related to the Kennedys who during the Bush administration's descent into political dementia were also objects of hate speech from the talk-radio genre.

Skakel's baggage, bad timing, and the unbridled ambition of prosecutors makes this case yet another prime suspect as an American injustice. The media pundits spent weeks of denial that the Virginia Tech shooter in fact had a motive that was no crazier than the radio talk show hosts'. The shooter hated rich people with the same conviction that neo-cons hate the Kennedys, liberals, and Hollywood political activists.

The more I read about the Skakel trial, the more I believe he may be an innocent man as much a victim of the same hate cultivated by an enterprising media, dog-eat-justice prosecutorial court system, and a public conditioned to rationalize and exorcise their own hate on high-profile celebrities.

He deserves another trial with all the evidence on the table and the public needs to seriously begin to question whether the courts of Connecticut dispense justice or simply mete out blind punishment. The prosecutors of this country can make the same boast that they are "getting away with murder" by milking the public intolerance for innocence as Michael Skakel is accused of saying while under the influence of addictive drugs.


Anonymous said...

No comments! I really find that interesting. I agree that Michael Skakel should get a new trial. With all the injustices being discovered recently of innocent people being convicted of "crimes" - $5,000,000 to Tillman and a retrial for Amero - in Connecticut alone in the past month. Never mind what Nifong did in North Carolina. I have no idea if Skakel killed Martha Moxley or not...I just don't think he got the trial he deserved.

Anonymous said...

I really feel that Micheal Skakel should be set free immediately.
I've felt so saddened by his conviction and always felt all along that he should have never!!! been sentenced as an adult, at the very least. I always wanted to find an opportunity to help set him free,but felt I haven't had the opportunity to until now, while posting my comment. He has already paid his debt to society and had proved himself since he was 15 to be a law abiding and productive citizen throughout his future,as a father,as a husband and he worked as a counselor. The crime is nearly 32 years old and the statue of limitations wasn't considered at the time, which wasn't fair. Wasn't the person who came forward to testify against Micheal mentally disturbed himself? Finally my heart goes out to Micheal, and his young son George. The fact that him and his young son have no contact is painful heartbreaking and downright brutal. And not to mention the loss of Micheal's father several years back, he was denied a release from prison to have the chance to say goodbye to his father. I often wonder how Micheal and his son, George will be affected in the future? Although experiencing his dad in jail can be, without a doubt, so traumatic for his little boy I still feel it would be more tramatic for the boy not seeing his dad at all.I hope my post will help Micheal and I also hope others will support my opinion and post a comment as well. I want to see Micheal set free and reunite with his son as soon as possible. Warmly, with many prayers, Tracy S.
all my prayers

Anonymous said...

I feel Julie's conviction is horrendous, to say the very least. I know in my heart she is innocent. It is so unfortunate how porn sites could inadvertently be displayed out of someones control. and I'm not quite sure what to make of these children in her classroom, as to whether she had been set up as well. However I cringed over the thought of seeing this poor women's conviction and especially over the fact that the judge imposed this very steep 40 year sentence. My heart goes out to her and God Bless! her husband who has been so good to her by standing by her side without passing any judgement against her during such a trying time for her. I also hope that she will be able to teach again in the future if she chooses to. My prayers go out to her and I want to see her free of all charges and reinstated of her job as a teacher. Warmly, Tracy S.