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Connecticut’s Stamford/Norwalk Superior Court has grown somewhat accustomed to the many media satellite trucks, the hoards of reporters and the ensuing clamor of Michael Skakel’s highly publicized murder trial. But the Connecticut Supreme Court is not used to such attention, prompting members of the State Capitol Police to offer assistance to the Judicial Branch in preparation for Skakel’s Tuesday hearing at the supreme court. With more than 50 members of the media usually reserving seats and parking spots to cover Skakel’s case in Stamford — in addition to many curious citizens — members of the branch had developed a plan to accommodate the different requests, smoothing out various wrinkles as each phase of litigation progressed. However, Tuesday’s hearing at the state supreme court marks the first time Skakel and company will descend on the high court, forcing Judicial Branch members to formulate a new plan for what is known at Stamford’s Hoyt Street court location as “the three ring circus.” Michael “Mickey” Sherman, Skakel’s lead defense attorney, said his client would be at the hearing, where he is appealing a previous decision to have his case transferred from juvenile court to adult court. Last year Judge Maureen Dennis decided there was probable cause to try Skakel for the 1975 murder of his teen-age neighbor Martha Moxley, while also deciding Skakel, now 41, should be transferred to superior court. The high court took the case for review after attorneys for both sides conceded the transfer issue would likely end up there anyway. Still pending before Stamford Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. is whether to dismiss the charges against Skakel, due to a statute of limitations in effect in 1975. No trial date has yet been set. “I have no clue as to what to expect,” Sherman said when asked if the state supreme court would see the same number of people as in Stamford. “I don’t imagine it is going to be a three-ring circus.” However, the Judicial Branch is bracing for an onslaught of traffic for the hearing, according to Melissa Farley, executive director of the branch’s external affairs. “We knew we needed a plan in place,” Farley said. “I don’t know if there have been any cases [of national interest] before in the supreme court. We certainly have a significant share of those in our state courts.” Farley said with the cooperation of Bill Morgan, chief of the Capitol State Police, the court was now well prepared for the hearing. Members of the media will still be assigned seating, as in Stamford, with media satellite trucks parked across the street from the court at the State Capitol. Farley said a podium would also be set up across the street for attorneys to conduct interviews with the court as a backdrop. And for the first time, proceedings will be videotaped by CT-N, the Connecticut Network, and made available to all media outlets. Farley said the department, which would also be reassigning Judicial Marshals to the supreme court for security, would not be expending any additional costs in preparation for the hearing. Morgan said he had worked with Farley and other members of the branch in the past and wanted to offer assistance for the hearing. “I knew we could help out. We are ready and prepared,” Morgan said. “It’s not like we could shut down [Capitol Avenue] for a while.” Morgan said he and his staff were used to high-volume traffic events at the capitol, citing various city events held in the past, as well as the barrage of media that surrounded the capitol when the state previously announced plans to bring the Patriots football team to town. “The idea is to have everything go smoothly,” Morgan said.

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