Login Form

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

  • David Oyelowo Will Serve As 2017 Spirit Awards Honorary Chair; Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae To Co-Host Nominee Brunch, Announce Grant Winners

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Film Independent President Josh Welsh announced that David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe, A United Kingdom) will be the 2017 Spirit Awards Honorary Chair. Oyelowo was nominated for Best Male Lead for his work in Selma (2015) and Best Supporting Male for Middle of Nowhere (2013).  

  • Denver Film Festival Announces Red Carpet Screenings, Special Presentations And Films In Competition

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 39th Denver Film Festival (DFF39), produced by Denver Film Society (DFS), announced the lineup of Red Carpet screenings, special presentations and films in competition featuring ‘La La Land,’ ‘Jackie,’ ‘Lion,’ and ‘Lost in Paris.’  

  • Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Interstellar” Crosses $100 Million Milestone In Imax® Theatres Around The Globe

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    HOLLYWOOD, CA (For Immediate Release) – Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that Christopher Nolan's critically acclaimed film "INTERSTELLAR" has surpassed $100 million in IMAX® Theatres worldwide since its release on November 5, marking the fourth time an IMAX film has crossed the $100 million threshold.

     
  • Gravitas Ventures Acquires Sunlight Jr. And Partners with Samuel Goldwyn Films

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Los Angeles, CA  – Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to Laurie Collyer’s SUNLIGHT JR., starring Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts, Norman Reedus, and Academy Award® nominee Matt Dillon.      

     
  • Paris Fashion Week: Laskaris Couture Show Summer 2018 – Regal, Sensuous, Dazzling

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Muse of the Laskaris  House for the summer of 2018  is Olympias, the Princess of the Molossian of Epirus, the wife of Philip II, King of the Macedonians, and the mother of Alexander the Great. 

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Marc Webb Talks on The Only Living Boy in New York, Casting, Icons, and His Bucket List

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Only Living Boy in New York, an intimate relationship drama starring Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale, Cynthia Nixon and Thomas Callum is about to premiere and the film's director Marc Webb has agreed to an interview.  

     
  • One Village Entertainment Presents a Double Feature –“In Sickness and In Health” and “To Love and To Cherish”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES (Dec. 12, 2013) – One Village Entertainment, an RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand, brings you the double feature of "In Sickness and In Health" and "To Love and To Cherish" on DVD on Jan. 7, 2014. Both directed by Roger Melvin, the films star Chico Benymon (UPN’s “Half & Half”, Ali), Denise Boutte (TBS’s “Meet the Browns”), Golden Brooks (UPN/CW’s “Girlfriends”), Jennifer Freeman (ABC’s “My Wife and Kids,” You Got Served), Mel Jackson (Soul Food) and Tommy Ford (FOX’s “Martin”), In Sickness and In Health / To Love and To Cherish will be available on DVD.