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

  • Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that the Los Angeles City Council, in a unanimous vote, approved plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Construction will begin this summer, and ceremonial groundbreaking festivities will occur this fall.

     
  • AMC Theatres® and Paramount Pictures Introduce a First Time Unlimited Ticket For Interstellar

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Leawood, Kan. (Nov. 17, 2014) – AMC Theatres and Paramount Pictures are excited to offer AMC Stubs members a first-of-its-kind INTERSTELLAR Unlimited Ticket, which allows AMC's loyal moviegoers to see the film as many times as they'd like for one price. AMC Stubs members who have already seen the movie have an option to upgrade to the unlimited ticket at AMC.

     
  • Japanese Death Toll Rises; Ecuador Hit With 7.8 Temblor; Burma Recovering

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Japanese people are still reeling from aftershocks following Tuesday’s massive 6.2 earthquake that struck almost exactly five years after the deadly 9.0 2011 quake that triggered a Tsunami and massive meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor.

     
  • Money News: Global Markets Struggle; Top Eight Close Down; Nikkei, Mexico Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average,in response to the poor showing from January’s Bureau of Labor Statistic’s  jobs report, as well as eight of the top ten world markets, unable to rally, sustained heavy losses as investor confidence globally continued to fall.

     
  • LONDON TERROR ATTACK: SKY News Reports Suspect ID; Nineteen Injured in Early Morning Explosion

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A crude, partially detonated, bomb exploded on the Parsons Green Tube Line in London, injuring nineteen people and causing mass panic and a stampede as terrified commuters rushed out the open doors to escape the fireball.

     
  • Utah Miracle Baby Survives Car Crash, Sub-Zero Conditions

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Lily Groesbeck is the only survivor of a horrific car crash that killed her mother a sorrowful tragedy that happens all too often and in this accident the survivor, an infant, is being called a miracle baby and her mother an angel who never left her side.

     
  • Channing Tatum Reveals “Team Oscar®” Winners On “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Actor Channing Tatum today announced the winners of "Team Oscar" during his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  The winners will deliver Oscar statuettes to celebrity presenters at the 87th Oscars on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.