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

  • First Person: Award Winning Director, Anna Wilding, Weathers Super Storm Sandy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It is not particularly easy to write about a hurricane when I just left a zone devastated by earthquakes, that being Christchurch New Zealand.  However, that is not to distract from the sheer force of Hurricane Sandy and its effect on many lives and of course the infrastructure in 15 states, in particular New York.  To date, over 100 lives have been lost, 56 of those in the United States. It’s a sad time for many.

     
  • People Exclusive: Inside the Leadership of the Word of Life Church: Is Tiffanie Irwin Running a Killer Cult

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The residents of the sleepy hamlet of Chadwicks, New York, had long suspected there was something different about the Word of Life Christian Church – even before two teenage brothers were savagely beaten after over a dozen hours inside the church's sanctuary room, according to police.

     
  • Soothe Mobile Massage-On-Demand Review - Ease of Use Kneads Kinks Out Of Expansion

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    We've all had them. Those days that start off perfectly fine and then take a hard left turn onto the stress superhighway.  On these rough days in particular, there’s nothing like a relaxing massage to calm your nerves and alleviate anxiety.

     
  • Ten Animated Shorts Advance in 2014 Oscar® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 87th Academy Awards®.  Fifty-eight pictures had originally qualified in the category.

     
  • HL Travel: Five Amazing Luxury Adventures You Can Have in Greece

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    There are few places in southeastern Europe with as rich a history and culture as Greece. History buffs and those who enjoy sightseeing will find a huge number of landmarks and artifacts from the Parthenon to the Temple of Hephaestus.

Crime

  • Ariel Castro Found Hanged to Death in his Cell

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ariel Castro, the man found guilty of holding three Cleveland women hostage for over a decade and sentence to life plus 1000 years in prison, was found hanged to death in his prison cell.

     
  • Five Dallas Police Officers Dead; Seven Others Injured in Peace March Ambush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Five Dallas Police Officers have died and seven others injured in an ambush as a protest over the recurring use of excessive and deadly force against unarmed African Americans turned violent leaving a city and nation stunned.

     
  • Alpine High School Active Shooter Story Unfolds Differently; Officer Involved Shooting Wounds One

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A freshman girl in West Texas committed suicide with a single self-inflicted gunshot this week after wounding a fellow female student at Alpine High School after the directed incident escalated resulting in an officer involved shooting of a fellow first responder.

     
  • Cincinnati Boy, 8, Commits Suicide After School Bullying

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    An eight-year-old Cincinnati boy committed suicide January, 2017, after a bullying incident in the boy’s bathroom at his school left him unconscious for nearly eight minutes. He hung himself with a necktie two days later.

     
  • Victim in South Carolina Police Shooting Owed Child Support

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A South Carolina police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man after a routine traffic stop in which the victim ran as he could not produce insurance or registration papers for the vehicle pulled over for a faulty tail light.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Adventures on the Queen Mary Review - Stunning, Beautiful, A Must Have

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Adventures on the Queen Mary, by Dave Wooders with James Radford, a book for those who have dreamed of traveling the high seas, in all the style of a bygone era and the opulence of the Queens luxury.

     
  • Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette Review – Surprisingly Interesting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Penned by renowned Civil Rights attorney David M. Weitzman, Living A Life That Matters will not jump off the shelf for the causal bookstore window shopper. The title, the image all suggest an intellectual read reserved for professors, scholars, politicians and the like.  

  • 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.

     
  • Interstellar Soundtrack with Music By Hans Zimmer Out In Time For The Holidays

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (October 28, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA) WaterTower Music today proudly announces the November 18 release of Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with music by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, whose career has earned him Grammy, Golden Globe, Classical Brit, Academy, Tony, and American Music Awards.

     
  • Joshua Tree Spring Music Festival - A Global Experience in the Magical Mojave

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Merging its funky desert style with an internationally acclaimed lineup of musical artists, this three day (and four night) family-friendly festival is truly a global music experience. The 13th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers.