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

  • Looking For a Good Pour: Hard Liquor Capitals Around The World

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    When it comes to alcohol consumption, people can get their fix in many ways. Between wine, beer and hard liquor, the various brands and types can seem endless. Given the long-standing history of alcohol, it’s no wonder people have been able to create so many varieties.

     
  • THE IMPOSTER, A Riveting Psychological Journey, from Director Bart Layton

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    THE IMPOSTER, a riveting psychological journey, delves into the 1994 disappearance of Texas teenager Nicholas Barclay and the astronomical odds of his safe return.

     
  • Experience 85 Years Of The Oscar® Robert Osborne's Official History of The Academy Awards® Available October 29

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The official history of the Academy Awards, 85 Years of the Oscar captures the thrill of the film industry’s most significant and popular event with more than 750 photographs and an informative text by renowned film historian and Hollywood insider Robert Osborne. 

     
  • New Auteurs and American Independents Titles Announced For AFI Fest 2015 Presented By Audi

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs and American Independents sections at AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi. Express Passes for all regular screenings are now on sale.  

  • Dunkirk, Logan, Alien: Covenant Among Top Twenty Contenders Advancing In VFX Oscar® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that twenty films are in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 90th Academy Awards® with a shortlist of ten films advancing later this month.

Crime

  • Remains of Two Missing Pulled From Manhattan Gas Explosion Site

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The final two missing from last week’s gas explosion on Manhattan’s Lower East Side have been pulled from the rubble days after an alleged illegal gas tap set off a massive seven alarm inferno that killed two and injured 25.

     
  • Phoenix Demon Dad Murders Infant Son

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robert Anthony Resendiz, 30, has been charged in the murder of his six month old infant son on December 19, 2017 after he admitted to authorities of using approximately 65% of his strength to silence the baby.

     
  • Central Park Five Settles Decade Long Civil Suit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Central Park Five, found guilty in a sham trial for the vicious sexual assault and attempted murder of a white investment banker jogging in Central Park in spring 1989, have settled a decade long civil suit, for $40 million, with New York City.

     
  • Two Majors Cities Hit With Mass Shooting Scares in One Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Three days after a TSA agent was killed at LAX during a Mass Shooting, the Westfield Garden State Mall in Paramus, New Jersey and Central Connecticut State University Campus were both targeted by deranged individuals.

     
  • Gun Control Reform Inches Forward

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gun Control Law has inched somewhat forward with a veiled victory as Vice President Joseph Biden announced two new executive actions, nine months after the horrific and senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Billy Blake: Images From The Ashes The Story of Triumph over Tragedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Billy Blake, 71, in a flash, a moment, woke up to a raging fire rising up over the Malibu hillside and marching down the canyons engulfing his home, thirty years of work and almost everything, including his wherewithal, his hope, all lost.

     
  • Jayne Avaunt, Canada's Newest Pop Sensation, Hits U.S. Airwaves

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Jayne Avaunt, Canada’s newest pop sensation, is now blazing the Americans musical charts with her hit single, Hear Me. Hear Jayne out with Hear Me,and see what bloggers are talking about.

     
  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.

     
  • LA Lakers Great Tommy Hawkins Pens Reflections from the Soul

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Tommy Hawkins, former Los Angeles Lakers legend who helped shape the dynasty of today, recently launched his first ever narrative book of poetry.

     
  • NYPD Green Book Review - Page Turning Detective Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NYPD Green, a memoir from Luke Waters, details his life from undocumented Irish immigrant to ranking detective in one of the largest police departments in the world solving horrendous cases and the interactions and working with other judicial agencies.