Mickey Sherman

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Michael "Mickey" Sherman, an Connecticut-based American criminal defense attorney[1] who has appeared countless times on cable television shows talking about famous legal cases. He is known for his representation of Michael Skakel. Sherman's client was found guilty. In October 2013, a judge ordered a retrial for Skakel, citing Sherman’s failures.[2][3]

On March 15, 2011, Sherman was sent to prison for failing to pay more than $1.1 million in federal taxes.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Sherman grew up in a section of Greenwich, Connecticut that was not affluent.[5] A graduate of Greenwich High School, Sherman received his bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and, in 1971, his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law. In May 2005, Sherman was disinvited from speaking at Greenwich High School's commencement due to public outcry from many parents.[6] Jackie Striano, Greenwich High School activities director, said Sherman was disinvited because he had defended several students from the school against drunk-driving charges over the years.


Sherman has been disciplined by a state licensing authority, in 2007 and in 2011.[7] In 2011, Sherman was suspended from practicing as a lawyer.[8]

Mr. Sherman served as an assistant public Defender in Stamford Superior Court and later as an assistant prosecutor, a post he held for four years.[9]

His courtroom and trial tactics have been the subject of feature articles in the New York Times, the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, and New York Newsday. In 1986, the New York Times questioned whether he hurt the jury system by hiring a juror from a deadlocked rape jury to sit through the defendant's retrial as a consultant. After the second trial, the Connecticut Legislature passed a statute outlawing the tactic.[10]

Sherman has been employed as a "legal analyst" by CBS News, for which he appeared on the CBS Early Show and CBS Evening News.[when?][citation needed]

Sherman defended a Vietnam veteran in a murder trial using a post-traumatic stress disorder defense. That became the subject of half-hour productions on CBS’s Verdict, NBC’s Dateline and the BBC series, America on Trial.[10]

In Barry Levinson's 2006 film Man of the Year, Sherman appears as a talking head.

Criminal conviction[edit]

Sherman pleaded guilty in 2010 to failing to pay two years’ worth of federal income taxes, more than $420,000, and starting on March 15, 2011, served a year and a day in a minimum-security prison camp in upstate New York.[11][12]

Billing practices and misconduct[edit]

On January 5, 2007, the Hartford Courant reported that Sherman was under investigation by a panel of the Statewide Grievance Committee, a state agency which disciplines lawyers, concerning an accusation that he violated several rules of professional conduct, including charging the client $187,000 without providing a fee agreement or an hourly billing statement. A former client, Hakan Yalincak, complained to the agency in March 2006 that Sherman, his attorney, had billed him but had provided little documentation to show where the money went. [13]

"I was hired to try to put these fires out and defend him. It was an absolutely fair fee, and I'm confident that will come out," Sherman told The Courant "I'm confident this will resolve itself in a very favorable manner." Sherman said he worked on Yalincak's complex cases for more than a year and earned the money.

In 2006, Sherman paid Yalincak a $50,000 refund during the grievance process, and the former client tried to drop his charges, but the agency wouldn't allow it. The panel then started investigating whether or not Sherman had acted improperly by making a payment to someone who brought accusations against him to the state agency. Sherman said the payment had nothing to do with the complaint to the agency but was made in exchange for Yalincak's agreement not to file a lawsuit against him. In September 2006, a regional panel of the Statewide Grievance Committee issued a finding of probable cause against Sherman. In February 2007, Yalincak also filed a federal lawsuit against Sherman and his partners alleging fraud. In May 2007, Sherman agreed that he violated two rules of professional conduct and was reprimanded by the Statewide Grievance Committee. In October 2007, after the District Court, Judge Alan H. Nevas, denied Sherman's motion's to dismiss Yalincak's lawsuit, Sherman also reached two confidential settlements. In early 2009, the Federal Grievance Committee of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut imposed identical discipline with the Statewide Grievance Committee on Sherman for identical violations.

On June 30, 2010, Sherman pled guilty two counts of willfully failing to pay federal income taxes for tax years 2001 and 2002, in the amount of $390,000 in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. As of the date of his plea, Sherman still owes penalties and interest for those years in the approximate amount of $309,000. Sherman also owes back taxes in the approximate amount of $697,500, and approximately $144,000 in penalties and interest, for the 2004 through 2008 tax years. He was sentenced on December 22, 2010 to one year and one day in prison. He will report to prison on March 16, 2011. [14]

Sherman's former law firm partner, Joseph Richichi also pled guilty to similar charges of tax evasion for failing to pay taxes on approximately $3.1 million on April 5, 2007 and was sentenced on December 19, 2007 to sixteen month imprisonment. [15]

Accounts by the Stamford Advocate in 2011 and 2012, as well as the Connecticut Superior Court website indicate that Sherman was reinstated as an attorney permitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut, provided he submits to monthly audits of his client escrow account and billing practices.

In October 2013, Superior Court Judge Thomas Bishop in Connecticut found that Sherman had rendered ineffective assistance to another former client, Michael S. Skakel, who had been convicted of murdering Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut. Judge Bishop heavily criticized Sherman's representation of Skakel, vacated Skakel's conviction and ordered a new trial. The State of Connecticut has appealed and Mr. Skakel has been released on bond pending the appeal.

Personal life[edit]

Sherman divorced Judy Jacobson in 2005[16] and married Fox News legal analyst and author Lis Wiehl on June 23, 2006 at an Old Greenwich, Connecticut restaurant.[17]

Sherman has two children with ex-wife Judy Jacobson, a son, lawyer Mark Sherman,[18][19] and a daughter, Jamie.[20] His daughter-in-law is Connecticut lawyer Rachel Sherman, who is married to Mark.[21][22] Wiehl, about 14 years younger than Sherman, has a daughter and a son from a previous marriage.

In 2012, Wiehl confirmed on a morning talk show that she and Sherman have since separated.


  1. ^ http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Stamford-attorney-released-from-prison-2195962.php
  2. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/nyregion/skakel-lawyer-in-a-tv-twist-is-talk-fodder.html
  3. ^ http://articles.courant.com/2013-07-03/news/hc-skakel-defense-brief-0704-20130703_1_michael-skakel-mickey-sherman-ethel-skakel-kennedy
  4. ^ http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/23673404/mickey-sherman
  5. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/nyregion/skakel-lawyer-in-a-tv-twist-is-talk-fodder.html
  6. ^ http://www.greenwichmag.com/g/February-2010/Making-His-Case/
  7. ^ http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/06830-ct-michael-sherman-1446913.html
  8. ^ http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/06830-ct-michael-sherman-1446913.html
  9. ^ [1]"Fans of Feiger" Web site, Web page titled "Lawyers Hall of Fame: Mickey Sherman", accessed October 11, 2006
  10. ^ a b [2] Web site of Sherman, Richichi & Hickey, Web page titled "Mickey Sherman" accessed October 11, 2006
  11. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/nyregion/skakel-gets-new-trial-in-75-killing-of-teenager-in-connecticut.html
  12. ^ http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/10/23/mickey_sherman_this_criminal_defense_attorney_has_the_greatest_slogan_ever.html
  13. ^ [3] Stacom, Don, "Panel Investigates Defense Attorney", article in The Hartford Courant, January 5, 2007
  14. ^ [4] Carson, Tom, "U.S Attorney's Office Press Release: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Charges", press release in U.S. Attorney Office for the District of Connecticut, June 30, 2010
  15. ^ [5] Carson, Tom, "U.S Attorney's Office Press Release: Stamford Lawyer Sentenced to Prison for Sixteen Months for Tax Evasion", press release in U.S. Attorney Office for the District of Connecticut, December 19, 2007
  16. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/nyregion/skakel-lawyer-in-a-tv-twist-is-talk-fodder.html?pagewanted=2
  17. ^ Costaregni, Susie, The Dish column, "Paul Simon springs a 'Surprise' visit", page A2, The Advocate of Stamford, July 1, 2006, page A2
  18. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Z4SE5AaS1xEC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=mickey+sherman+daughter+lawyer&source=bl&ots=eNH-xekOT7&sig=yfiw7Tn_g2BhqAaQERAd1bURGh4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MqBvUpaWN8qzkAets4CYAQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAzgK#v=snippet&q=son%20mark&f=false
  19. ^ http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/06905-ct-mark-sherman-1304940.html
  20. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Z4SE5AaS1xEC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=mickey+sherman+daughter+lawyer&source=bl&ots=eNH-xekOT7&sig=yfiw7Tn_g2BhqAaQERAd1bURGh4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MqBvUpaWN8qzkAets4CYAQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAzgK#v=snippet&q=daughter%20jamie&f=false
  21. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Z4SE5AaS1xEC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=mickey+sherman+daughter+lawyer&source=bl&ots=eNH-xekOT7&sig=yfiw7Tn_g2BhqAaQERAd1bURGh4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MqBvUpaWN8qzkAets4CYAQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=mickey%20sherman%20daughter%20lawyer&f=false
  22. ^ http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/06901-ct-rachel-sherman-1475950.html

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