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

  • Money News: North American, European Markets Close Down; Asian Markets, Mexico Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, wrestling the Bear took a hit for the fourth straight week, closing down and setting a global tone across the European Markets with the Asian Markets breaking away to close up.  

     
  • Mark Kearney Group “Iced Out” Luxury Gifting Suite Creates An Affair To Remember

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Los Angeles, CA  - Stars showed up for Iced Out’s Luxury Awards Suite during Emmy Week. The event September 19th and 20th in a sprawling private residence in the Hollywood Hills provided a diverse array of high-end niche products and services.

     
  • Anne Hathaway to Present on OSCAR® Sunday

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Oscar winner Anne Hathaway will present at this year's Oscars®, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.  

     
  • Lily Collins And Tessa Thompson To Co-Host Film Independent Spirit Awards Press Conference

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Film Independent announced today that Lily Collins and Tessa Thompson will co-host the press conference announcing the nominees for the 33rd edition of the Spirit Awards on Tuesday, November 21, at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood.  

  • Erik Anders Lang and Ryland Aldrich Form New Production Company Producing Original Content

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Director and TV personality Erik Anders Lang and Producer Ryland Aldrich announced today their founding of Pictures, Pictures. a new production company to focus on feature films, long-form documentary series, short-form commercials, and branded content.

Crime

  • Utah Woman Charged in Six Newborn Deaths

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Megan Huntsman, 39, was arraigned on murder charges stemming from the serial slaying of six of her seven newborns who were found stuffed in boxes in the garage of her Pleasant Grove, Utah home.

     
  • UPDATE: Fourth Victim, Cousin of Shooter, in Washington State School Shooting Dies;Brings Total to Five

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The fourth student victim of the deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington State, has claimed its fifth victim as parents and survivors are returning to school while trying to cope with the senseless tragedy.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Yellowstone Cold Case Remains Unsolved

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Scarface, the once 600lb grizzly bear known to roam free in the vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park was shot and killed last November near Gardiner, Montana, after wandering just north of the Park's boundaries.  

  • Justice Watch: Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty in Toddler Torture Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Scott McMillan, the toddler murdered by his mother and her lover of one month, was buried one week ago in a tiny casket supplied by a local mortuary in a graveside service attended by his remaining family members, aunts, uncles, grandmother.  

Theatre, Music, Books

  • 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.

     
  • Hollywood Celebrates The 100th Anniversary of Tinseltown’s First Ever Feature Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (HOLLYWOOD, CA., MEDIA ALERT)--- Colossal. Stupendous. Epic. These Hollywood adjectives became clichés long ago. When used to describe the films of Cecil B. DeMille, they are accurate. This producer-director captured a worldwide audience with The King of KingsThe Sign of the Cross, The Greatest Show on Earth; Samson and Delilah, and The Ten Commandments. 

     
  • Coffee Table Art For the Intellectually Promiscuous

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Coffee Table Art, considered the staple for the difficult on our Christmas list, has changed over the years and with the internet bookstore finding that perfect tome, a keepsake, a DIY guide, the best images of seven continents has never been easier.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.