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

  • People Exclusive: Husband of Murdered Texas Fitness Instructor Shares Theory on Who Killed His Wife: 'It Had to Be Someone She Knew'

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brandon Bevers, the husband of a Texas fitness instructor who was found dead inside a church last month just before she was to teach an early morning class, believes his wife knew her killer.

     
  • Bow Tie Cinemas Ziegfeld Theater Presents Film Retrospective Celebrating Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NEW YORK, NY – Bow Tie Cinemas Ziegfeld Theater will celebrate the longtime collaboration between Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and Academy Award®-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio with a two day, five film retrospective on February 13 and 14, 2014. 

     
  • KYPRIS Introduces Mini Beauty Elixirs - For Fun, Travel or a Quick On-The-Go Splash

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    KYPRIS, the luxurious line of holistic, high performance skin care boasting organic, wild-crafted, and sustainable grown ingredients for gorgeous results and an ecstatic experience of your unique Beauty, introduces mini versions of its award-winning and critically-acclaimed Beauty Elixirs. 

     
  • January Filled with Delicious Decadence from The Sea to the Interior as 2017 Winter dineL.A. Restaurant Week begins

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Southern California cuisine has two distinct personalities: fish tacos and craft beer on one side, celebrity chefs and haute cuisine on the other. California Restaurant Month embraces both from farm and sea to table and exotic fusion Californians love.

     
  • The Academy Steps Behind The Score With Composers Gustavo Dudamel, Gustavo Santaolalla and John Williams

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – Composers Gustavo Dudamel, Gustavo Santaolalla and John Williams will gather at the Academy for "Behind the Score: The Art of the Film Composer," on Monday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles.  In a conversation hosted by Tavis Smiley, the illustrious trio will discuss significant musical moments in film that have inspired their work as they examine the art and process of creating a film score as well as the director-composer collaboration. 

Crime

  • Girl, 16, Dead After Vicious Attack

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amy Inita Francis-Joyner, 16, a sophomore at Howard High School of Technology, in Wilmington, Delaware, died Thursday morning after she was jumped in the girl’s restroom by two other sixteen year olds and beaten to near death over a boy.

     
  • Guilty Verdict Long Overdue in Etan Patz Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Manhattan jury deliberated nine days before it rendered a guilty verdict in the 40-year-old kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared in 1979 as he walked to school in New York City.

     
  • Organized Crime Boss James “Whitey” Bulger Convicted

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James “Whitey” Bulger, the organized crime boss who fled Boston and lived 16 years as a fugitive, was convicted of murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and gun possession.

     
  • Miami Woman Savagely Beaten Remains Comatose

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danielle Jones, 23, a Miami, Florida caterer, is clinging to life after she was savagely beaten, bludgeoned, strangled, slashed and left for dead on Valentine's Day, which is also her birthday, by her roommate of one week that she found on Craigslist.

     
  • One Week With The NYPD (Reprinted with Permission)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    With the rise in excessive and deadly force, a blog in 2007 began with "And Justice For Sean," written when a Queens County Grand Jury handed down an eight count indictment show justice, elusive, is still possible.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • A Pink Suitcase Book Review – Empowering Stories from Women Who Dared

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Pink Suitcase, from World Traveler Press, presents twenty-two provocative individual stories of empowered woman who dared to fulfill their dreams of global expedition, from hiking the Appalachian Trail to entering Gutsy Gal adventures.

     
  • San Diego Jazz Fest Features Traditional Jazz, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Gospel, and Ragtime

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego, California, For Immedite Release - The San Diego Jazz Fest takes place November 26-November 30 and will feature over thirty bands and guest artists from across the U.S. playing for dancing and listening in seven venues.

     
  • V Theater Las Vegas Review - Entertainment Aplenty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    No matter how many times you’ve visited Vegas, no trip would be complete without taking in a show or two amidst the time you spend eating, gaming, clubbing, sunning and otherwise funing in Sin City.

     
  • The Fifth Letter Review - Page Turning Legal Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Fifth Letter, a novel by research scholar Dr. Vivian Carpenter, introduces Katherine Helena Ross, the first black female Supreme Court justice caught between her conscience and political expedience when forced to consider the most important question facing the U.S. Supreme Court today: Who is a person with inalienable rights?  

  • HL London: Paul McCartney's LIPA Channels the Spirit of John Peel in Weekly New Music Event

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by one of the city's most celebrated sons Paul McCartney, is launching The 2Ube, an eclectic showcase of musical talent from across the north west.