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The configuration of the court system 25 years ago could play a key part in determining where Michael Skakel will be tried if his case is transferred to adult court. If Skakel is tried as an adult, he would probably be transferred to Bridgeport’s judicial district rather than stay in Stamford, where no superior court existed in 1975 to try an adult for major felonies. The transfer could also be appealed right away, if 1975 laws are applied in the case. If, however, the 39-year-old were to be tried as a juvenile in the murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley, he would remain in Stamford, according to Trial Court Administrator for the Stamford/Norwalk Judicial District Lorraine Murphy. The distinction between the two scenarios is that in 1975 there was a juvenile court, but no superior court in Stamford to try an adult for major felonies, said Murphy. Thus, Skakel would most likely be transferred to Bridgeport should Judge Maureen Dennis decide there is reasonable cause to proceed the case to an adult court. “I know that will be a skirmish if he is transferred to adult court,” Michael “Mickey” Sherman, Skakel’s defense attorney said. “Whether it will be Stamford or Bridgeport�cases of this nature were typically sent to Bridgeport. My purposes obviously would be to keep him here so he could be tried by a jury of his peers.” According to Murphy, until 1978 Stamford did not have a superior court to try major felony cases. That year, Stamford/Norwalk, Danbury and Ansonia/Milford were detached from the Fairfield Judicial District to form their own superior courts. To further complicate matters, in 1975 juvenile defendants had the right to an immediate appeal if transferred to an adult court. In 1995, state statutes were changed to stay the appeal process until after sentencing. “It’s a touchy case,” Francis Carino, juvenile prosecutor for the chief state’s attorney said of the Skakel issue. Carino said that in 1975, juvenile cases could be appealed as soon as an order of transfer was given; but 20 years later the laws have changed, so now there is no right to appeal until a sentence is handed down. “The right of appeal is still there-they did not take it away,” Carino said. “It was just moved to the end of the process.” Sherman said he would not comment on whether he planned to appeal if Skakel were to be transferred to an adult court, until Judge Dennis has ruled on the reasonable cause issue. He did say, however, that Jonathan C. Benedict, the Bridgeport state’s attorney who is prosecuting the case, has said he would file an appeal to have Skakel transferred to an adult court if Judge Dennis decides Skakel should be tried as a juvenile. Benedict could not be reached for comment at press time. “I have total confidence that if this case goes to Bridgeport or Stamford he’ll be acquitted,” Sherman said of his client.

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