After 11 Years in Prison, Skakel Goes Free on Bail

Hello Professor. I have recently been bit blocked on how to approach my blogs. I have started about 10 now and have not completed them. I actually had an email typed out to send to you asking for more ideas. I then realized is should use my lecture notes and apply that days lecture information to an article, so here we go.

I have read the lecture, pretty funny notes….

I am selecting this:

  1. Truth-
  2. First loyalty is to the public-

The essence of journalism is verification.

  1. Must maintain an independence from those that they cover.

I am going to pick a random article and apply these ideas to it.

Aug 12, 2013-Lecture Notes

Prof. Morris

Intro to Print and Online Media


What should news cover?

Sept 21st..bootcamp for inkwell

Attend at least one class

what is bellicose (demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight) & querulous (complaining in a petulant or whining manner)?

What are the opinions of the news?

Bias news?

We are already bias, so how do we gauge the news?

Elements of news writing and

Main txt-elements of journalism-2 books


Gray and white/blue

Journalism goes, democracy goes. The fear is this.

10 principals that support journalism:

Should provide people w information so that they can self-govern

  1. Truth-
  2. First loyalty is to the public-

The essence of journalism is verification.

  1. Must maintain an independence from those that they cover.
  2. Monitor of power. Holding people accountable. Who keeps the powerful accountable? Accountable to the obligations of their office. i/e: Weiner ..the press/media keeps him accountable by keeping the public informed.

Look at the movies and determine if the fictional president is D or R.

What is getting monitored? Prof Morris thinks everybody should be monitored.

News should monitor power.

  1. News is supposed to make news interesting. i/e:Water plant in savannah? Do we need it? (Fictional topic)
  2. Must strive to make it interesting.
  4. It must keep the news comprehensive. Polls.


10. Can an independent press survive or not?


International Wire Service.  Tracking over 300 employees bc they were trying to find out how one employee got some info.

Can we trust the president? Hell no.  look at the photo they selected of the president. Not an accident. New York Times. National Security Agency


Should we trust the rich and powerful? No

First amendment ..freedom of press/speech. Practice their beliefs.  A market place of ideas. Got to let them battle it out. Don’t shut down Rush L. we need to hear all opinions. If we silence people then we give them more power. We need them to be out in the open so we can see what they are doing.

Journalists in Syria are lost. Kidnapped.

Back to syllabus:

Grading scale:

Articles for the inkwell-3

In class exercise

Blog for class-needs web address…critiquing news-100 pts.

Final essay/portfolio and self-critique 

Get digital subscription to NYTimes-student and wall street journal. Use these sources for the blog!

Everything should be typed and printed. No handwritten work turned in.

Got hit the deadlines!

Go to Ink Well asap for articles to write about.—–blog address

Destiny-study buddy

Minimum of 12 weeks. 24 entries.-find a story and follow it on both sources. And then compare the two. Is there a difference on how they cover it? Why did one pick a certain angel? Look at the words used to describe. Words have subtly meaning. “controlling” used in Obama article. Why did they use that word?

Bruicifed and newsbusters –fun sites.

1-7 look for

Tools for writing

Read chapter one. EOJ-write a response.







  1. Truth– can the author provide the true details and present them to the reader and the reader will believe what he is being told is the bottom line, the absolute, the truth? “This ‘journalistic truth’ is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts.”

And “…identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.”

  1. First loyalty is to the public-The writer needs to stay unbiased at all times rather his own biases or that of a person or company he is affiliated with. “While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor.”

The essence of journalism is verification.

  1. Must maintain an independence from those that they cover.-Wouldn’t this be a lot like #2?

Independence of spirit and mind, rather than neutrality, is the principle journalists must keep in focus.” And “In our independence, however, we must avoid any tendency to stray into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism.”



               After 11 Years in Prison, Skakel Goes Free on Bail

STAMFORD, Conn. — After spending more than a decade behind bars for the murder of a teenage girl in Greenwich, Conn., Michael C. Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedys, was ordered free from prison on Thursday to await a possible retrial.

Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times


Judge Gary White of Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford set bail at $1.2 million, ordering Mr. Skakel not to leave the state without permission and to wear a tracking device. The bail hearing came after another judge ruled last month that Mr. Skakel did not receive a fair trial because his first lawyer, Mickey Sherman, had not represented him effectively, depriving him of his constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel.

As Judge White made his announcement, friends and relatives of Mr. Skakel burst out in applause. Mr. Skakel, dressed in a suit and blue tie , tapped his chest as he walked out of the courtroom. Shortly after 2 p.m., he emerged from the basement of the courthouse and embraced supporters in enthusiastic bear hugs. He stood silently while his lawyer spoke to the throng of reporters outside before being whisked away in a waiting car.

—-Interesting choice of words. I understand this guy is a big fella, but this just added a little underlying bias. Even though he is speaking about their embrace, you can almost feel the love in the air. Also, is there any signafigance to saying what color his tie is?—–


Hubert J. Santos, Mr. Skakel’s current lawyer, declined to publicly reveal where Mr. Skakel would go once he was released. His brother John Skakel, who lives in Portland, Ore., provided bank checks to cover the bail.

It was the latest twist in a case that has fascinated the public and confounded investigators since 1975, when the battered body of Martha Moxley, 15, was found beneath a tree in her family’s backyard, pieces of a broken 6-iron golfclub by her side.

Mr. Skakel, 53, was also 15 at the time of the murder, and the two were neighbors in a town that has long been a bastion of wealth. At different times, both Mr. Skakel and his brother Thomas were suspected of killing Ms. Moxley. But it was more than a quarter of a century before Mr. Skakel was tried and convicted. In 2002, he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

The judge who ruled last month, Thomas A. Bishop of Superior Court in Rockville, wrote in a scathing 136-page decision that Mr. Sherman failed to show an attention to detail, lacked a coherent strategy and “was in a myriad of ways ineffective.” Those failures, he wrote, led to a “conviction that lacks reliability.”

After the ruling, Mr. Santos filed a motion for his client to be released on bail. In a later hearing, Judge Bishop decided that the question of whether to grant bail belonged with the criminal court in Stamford, where Mr. Skakel will be retried if the state decides to go forward with another prosecution.

From the outset, the case has attracted national news media attention, offering a potent mix of power, money and sex. It inspired a made-for-television movie, and became a staple for tabloids and an unending source of interest for true-crime writers, particularly Dominick Dunne.

Mr. Skakel is the nephew of Ethel Skakel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, and the link to one of America’s most famous families fueled additional interest in the case.

His trial in 2002 lasted three weeks and revealed tawdry details about his life as a young man, including his drinking and his drug use. In his defense, Mr. Skakel acknowledged that on the night of the murder, he had climbed a tree and masturbated while trying to look into Ms. Moxley’s bedroom.

During the trial, the prosecution painted Mr. Skakel as an emotionally disturbed man who was consumed with guilt after the killing, prompting confessions and suicide attempts. In one particularly vivid example cited in court documents, a man employed by the family as a gardener described how Mr. Skakel once tried to jump off the Triborough Bridge after saying that “he had done something very bad, and that he needed to get out of the country, and that he had to kill himself.”

Mr. Skakel has always publicly maintained his innocence.

Throughout the trials and appeals, Mr. Skakel’s family has fought fiercely on his behalf,spending millions of dollars in various bids to win his freedom.

On Thursday, the prosecutors did not object to the setting of bail, just the amount. Mr. Santos suggested $500,000; John Smirga, the lawyer for the state, recommended a number closer to $2 million. Among the factors he wanted the judge to consider were the brutality of the murder, and Mr. Skakel’s resources, character and mental condition.

Mr. Santos dismissed the notion that his client could flee if he wanted to, given the notoriety of the case. “His is the most recognized face in America,” he said. “So he’s not going anywhere.”

At a news conference outside the courthouse on Thursday, Ms. Moxley’s mother, Dorthy, and brother, John, expressed disappointment at the decision but confidence that Judge Bishop’s decision to overturn the conviction would be reversed by the state’s appeal.

“We knew this day would come, so I wasn’t completely destroyed,” Mrs. Moxley said, adding “There’s a lesson to parents: If your child does something wrong, face up to it.”

Mr. Santos used the bail hearing to once again criticize the original prosecution of Mr. Skakel. He said the case had been weak and was based on hearsay.

“If the prosecution found a homeless guy at a train station” who claimed that Mr. Skakel confessed to the murder, Mr. Santos said, “he would be on the stand in a New York minute.”

Mr. Smirga defended the handling of the case but also noted the difficulties of prosecuting a crime so long after it took place.

“Each time the facts of this case are presented, they mutate,” he said. There was no single piece of evidence — like DNA, an eyewitness or a photograph — that could be used against the defendant, he said.

He compared the case to “a giant jigsaw puzzle,” but one without a picture to show what it is supposed to look like when all the pieces are put together. Mr. Smirga said he was confident the state solved the puzzle and vowed to continue in its appeal of Judge Bishop’s decision to vacate the conviction. “His lawyer was found ineffective,” Mr. Smirga said. “But he hasn’t been found innocent in any forum.”

—I like that sentence. I like that he paraphrased it with quotes around the most important part. That to me proves the truth is there. It is right in your face wrapped up in a nice bow. It gives the person name, Mr. Smirga, which validates the comment.

Mr. Santos said Judge Bishop’s ruling revealed flaws in the state’s case against Mr. Skakel.

Mr. Santos and the Skakel family said they would continue to fight until Mr. Skakel was fully vindicated.

“This is the first step in correcting a terrible wrong,” the Skakel family said in a statement. “We look forward to Michael being vindicated and justice finally being served.”

Mr. Skakel was ordered to have no contact with the Moxley family.

He has a 14-year-old son, but, after more than a decade in prison , no home to return to. His lawyer declined to publicly reveal where Mr. Skakel would go once he was released.

While the joy of the Skakel family was evident in the courtroom, Mr. Moxley said he could not see how anyone could be happy about all that has happened.

He said that even if Judge Bishop’s ruling cast doubt on Mr. Skakel’s guilt, it left a cloud of suspicion over his brother Thomas, who was 17 when Ms. Moxley was killed. He was the last person known to have seen her alive.

“It is difficult to fathom how there could be any victory in this,” he said.

Alison Leigh Cowan reported from Stamford, Conn., and Marc Santora from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on November 22, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: After 11 Years in Prison, Skakel Goes Free on Bail.


—-It was a clean article and with only that one bear hug comment, I think the author provided a nice and fair article. I think he kept his bias out of it and just presented the facts. He did not force his beliefs or show an opinion in the article. While it was full of facts, it was also boring as hell.—–


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