Hank Brennan, Former Prosecutor and Defense Attorney, Provides Commentary on the Aaron Hernandez Trial

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, is entering Day 13 as the defense continues its attempts to discredit the prosecution’s case witness by witness.

Speculation continues to swirl around the possibility the former 2010 Round Four NFL Draft pick facing three murder charges, including that of semi-pro player, Odin Lloyd, will take the stand in his own defense.

Speaking with Hank Brennan, former District Attorney in Suffolk and Essex Counties who is well acquainted with the courtroom, highly skilled in trial advocacy, and most recently defended notorious mobster Whitey Bulger conducting the majority of cross examination.

Brennan addressed the pitfalls associated with high profile clients or, in reality, anyone taking the stand, and how juries tend to interpret the apparent “truth seeking” action.

Janet Walker: Speaking directly do you think Mr. Hernandez should take the stand in his defense?

Hank Brennan: Generally, I prefer that my client refrain from testifying.  The government has to prove each element of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not incumbent upon a defendant to prove his or her innocence. Ironically, innocence has nothing to do with it.

A funny thing happens when an accused takes the stand. The burden of proof seems to dissipate and jurors often engage in an analysis of which side they believe more.

An accused testifying impliedly creates the transformation of the burden of proof to an assessment of whether or not the accused is innocent. The protection provided by the burden of proof and the reasonable doubt standard is awfully important an asset to trade for the opportunity to have a client testify.  

JW: Can you explain?    

HB: There are generally three factors that come into play.  

First, how the case has developed in front of the jury?  The facts presented to a jury appear differently than they appear in police reports and witnesses statements. That is because credibility of witnesses is the biggest variable in any case thus the extraordinary significance of cross-examination.

Secondly, asking what facts remain that are detrimental to the defense after the prosecution has rested its case and deciding whether the attorney and client believe a conviction is imminent without an adequate explanation. If the negative factors can be dealt with then the risks in testifying often outweigh the potential benefits.  

Thirdly, how credible will the accused present?  Are there facts that can be convincingly explained, is the accused convincing, what evidence will be admissible if the accused testifies that otherwise would not be presented to a jury? 

JW: What if a client insists fearing the truth will not be presented otherwise?

HB: I have had many cases where clients demanded to testify simply because they wanted to. I have had other clients who prepared and planned on testifying but by the time the prosecution rested there was no need for their testimony and they refrained.

It is a case by case assessment that requires critical analysis of the evidence actually presented at trial.

Hernandez's defense lawyers will be in the best position to determine whether his testimony would benefit or hurt the case.

Observers and commentators may have their own opinions based on the indictments, their subjective hope that Hernandez testifies to add to the excitement of the event, and their observations about the presentation of evidence, however, they will never have the necessary insight relative to the third factor, In consequence, opinions outside of the defense teams assessment will necessarily be missing an essential part of the equation and is simply guess-work.  

Hernandez Background

The facts surrounding the trial include big seductions which bring shady friends, questionable backgrounds, drugs, guns, fast cars all in the attempt to surf the life or cause the demise.

Hernandez had a bright and promising career with the Pat’s.  Limited injuries and what appears to be a personal challenge with fellow fourth round draft pick placekicker Stephen Gronkowski who migrated to tight end.

On June 26, 2013, Aaron Hernandez was arrested for first degree murder of Odin Lloyd, a friend, and five unrelated gun charges. He was also named in a lawsuit stemming from a Miami shooting incident.

He was released from the New England Patriots the same day. He has remained held without bail since.

On August 2013, Hernandez was formally indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd. The following May 2014, he was again indicted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abrwu and Safire Furtado.

Explosive bits of information including PCP drug use by the former Pro-player, multiple weapons, immediate “housecleaning” after the murder, texts messages, conflicts of interest, all raising additional motions of admissibility.

If the jury finds the former NFL Top 100 Pro Bowler guilty, he could face life in prison. 

Haute Tease

  • Juno Jupiter Mission Produces Intense Images Released by NASA

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Agency, recently released images of an animated low-flyer over of Jupiter's North Pole catching a major cyclones circled by eight smaller cyclones, producing an intense animated version of the actual weather patterns on Jupiter.

     
  • 2014 Program Promises Enchanted Evenings of Magical Music at Southern California’s Premiere Outdoor Venue Santa Anita Race Track

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    April 4, 2014, Arcadia – There is a buzz that begins around this time of year; a buzz that grows steadily, accompanying the anticipation of another unforgettable summer season of concerts by Maestro Victor Vener and his California Philharmonic.

     
  • Holiday Home Cooking: Diestel Turkey Review - When Only the Best Will Do

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the holiday season quickly approaches, preparations for family gatherings including choosing the menu, that could include a variation of poultry, meats, seafood and pasta now include planning for leftovers which has become as popular as the main meal itself.

     
  • Walter Baholst, Director of Voodoo Possession, Talks on the Challenges of Creating a Realistic Voodoo Horror Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Voodoo Possession," from Rough Rider Studios and Front Row Productions, brings to the screen a deep journey into post earthquake Haiti and its voodoo spirit world to find and free possessed and stolen souls.

     
  • Forever My Girl Review – A Feel Good Film of Love Lost and Rekindled

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Forever My Girl, from LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, presents the story of lasting love through heartache, denial, impossibility, after hope is gone and life has gone on, then lightening and there is only the present.

     
  • LACMA and The Academy Co-Present A Major U.S. Exhibition Highlighting The Prolific Career Of Mexican Cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Academy) are pleased to present Under the Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Speaking with Phil Rudd of AC/DC on New Album and Euro Tour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Phil Rudd, the bad boy drummer for the wildly successful Australian band AC/DC who has seen his share of troubles recently, is launching a new album, Head Job, and embarking on a Euro Tour with his new band-mates.

     
  • Senator Ends 15 Hour Filibuster with GOP Agreement; Trump, Clinton Weigh in on Issue

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Senator Chris Murphy, (D-CT) launched a senate filibuster that lasted for 15 long hours as the junior senator marched through the mass killings America has endured until the Republicans an agreement on gun control could be reached.

     
  • N'est Pas Sauveur Qui Veut

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    La France, qui a libéré la Libye en 2011, s'efforce de résoudre le conflit actuel et constate que son influence diplomatique est freinée et que l'incapacité de parvenir à une fin, malgré elle, confirme son statut de puissance mondiale moyenne.  

  • Beltway Insider: Obama Delivers State of the Union; Rubio Handles GOP Rebuttal; Brennan, Hagel Confirmations Stalled

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term, this week, directly calling congress into bi-partisan support of his agenda to move forward much needed reforms.

     
  • Gift Guide: Great Gifts and Gets for Foodies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    If you’re looking for gift ideas for a food and drink-centric friend, co-worker or loved one, you’re in luck as I’ve cooked up a tasty assortment of items that’ll make your holiday shopping a snap. This season offers a veritable cornucopia of clever, inventive and downright delectable products like these sure to satisfy the gift giver and receiver, alike.  

  • Former Presidents, World Leaders, Pay Tribute To George H.W. Bush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the news that former President George H.W. Bush had passed away, a steady stream of accolades praising the leader as a humble, dedicated, public service, who remained faithfully dedicated to his family, his wife and the life they built.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Stumps; GOP Exposed; Iran Sanctions; Yemen; WH Press Locked Out; Wildfires Rage

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has proven his single focused goal as president is to dismantle every piece of legislature enacted by former President Barack Obama and the Iranian Nuclear Deal is next on the chopping block.

     
  • Girl, 10, Pulled from Italian Earthquake; Death Toll Increases Passes 250

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A girl, 10, after surviving more than 24 hours hanging upside down, was pulled from the rubble of a decimated Amatrice where the death toll has risen sharply following initial reports and the town is in ruins.

     
  • Money News: Global Markets Shook, Rattled and Rolled With All Eyes on Greece

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average managed to escape the growling bear and the global fallout from the turbulent Grecian financial meltdown to close the week with a respectable gain as did the majority of the top ten watched global markets.