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

  • Charlie Hebdo Slaughter: The World Unites Against Extremism

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The world stood in solidarity with the 12 journalists, from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, executed yesterday as three Islamic terrorists charged the Paris headquarters known for its offensive and humorous caricatures of extremists’ leaders.

     
  • CosmoGirl! and NY/LA Model's Crown Next Fashion Princess

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "So You Want To Be A Model" contest sponsored by New York/LA Model Management and Cosmo Girl! Magazine ended its national search for that new fresh face at a recent star-studded competition held at the trendy Manhattan hot spot Plumm.

     
  • Luxury Travel Trends Shattering the Status Quo

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A recent Bain & Company Luxury Study, indicated the global luxury market is growing at 4% with 2016 numbers topping $1.15 trillion, this coupled with optimistic forecasts of a continuation the upward trend, the hospitality industry is gearing up for elevated demand.

     
  • Obama Signals Victory; Romney Vows Swift Action if Elected -The Road to the White House - Election 2012 - Week 26

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican Presidential candidate, has vowed swift action, if elected in November, to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

     
  • STXinternational Secures Foreign Rights on Ridley Scott’s True Crime Thriller “ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    STXinternational has secured the highly sought international rights to All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott's true crime thriller chronicling the harrowing 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III and stars Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey and Mark Wahlberg.

Crime

  • Colorado Officials Find Remains of 170 People, Including Infant Boy, In Basement

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The remains of 170 individuals who did not receive proper burial or cremation were discovered in the basement of a Montrose, Colorado funeral home after the property was purchased and the new funeral director began renovations.

     
  • Nine Dead, 17 Injured; 192 Arrested in Waco Biker Brawl

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nine gang members shot and killed each other in a Wild West gangland shoot out at the Twin Peaks Bar and Grill in Waco, Texas, in what has been described as the worst crimes in almost 35 years of law enforcement.

     
  • LAX Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Paul Anthony Ciancia, the accused LAX shooter, has pled not guilty to murdering a TSA Agent and 10 other related federal charges in his second court appearance since the November 1, 2013 shooting.

     
  • Teen, Tortured and Shamed by Dad, Commits Suicide

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Isabel Laxamana, a beautiful raven haired ‘tween, suffered the brutalities of bullying when her father believing discipline, including shaming, would stop any future poor social media choices chopped off her long hair on camera and uploaded the video.

     
  • Shooting Erupts at LAX Airport; TSA Officer Killed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Transportation Security Agency agent was shot and killed when a single suspect opened fire at the Los Angeles International Airport, firing as many as 20 rounds with a high powered assault weapon.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.

     
  • 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.

     
  • The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston - A Page Turning Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Sword & Scabbard, from Allen Woods, looks as if it would appeal to Boston’s very tony elite, not until pushing through the labyrinth of technology interruptions does one realizes Woods has created a page turning account of corruption, violence, and a bloody re-revolution massacre.

     
  • Tyler Hilton Secues London's Blue Soap To Arrange Interviews and Airplay for US Tour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    We're delighted to be working with musician and One Tree Hill actor Tyler Hilton to secure airplay and arrange interviews ahead of his upcoming 30 city American tour. The focus tracks from the album and advance dates are enclosed! Support is hugely appreciated!