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

  • John Legend, Get Lifted and Jesse Williams to Produce Doc on 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning sensation John Legend, his Get Lifted production company, and actor and activist Jesse Williams to executive produce doc about 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith, "With Drawn Arms."  

  • Film Independent and AMC Present Mad Men: Live Read & Screening Of The Series Finale

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    AMC and Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA, in conjunction with Lionsgate, announced a special Mad Men event on Sunday, May 17 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA.  

  • Op/Ed: Aurora Shooter James Eagan Holmes Found Guilty; Hank Brennan Explains Sentencing Phase

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Eagan Holmes, former doctoral student, has been found guilty in the Aurora movie theater attack that left 12 dead and more than 58 injured as he stormed, in paramilitary fashion, the midnight showing of the film, The Dark Knight Rises.

     
  • Ten Fool Proof Ways to Change Your Skin and the Science Behind It

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The world of skincare is constantly changing. New products and trends aimed toward improving our complexions are popping up daily. From supplements to diets to moisturizers, the beauty industry is taking a new approach to skincare.

     
  • AirAsia UPDATE: Bodies Found in Debris Field; No Survivors Expected

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It started with the report of a dark object floating alone separated from two or three other objects in a tiny debris field, in the Java Sea, some twelve miles from the last know radar contact made with AirAsia QZ8105 and with the intensity of the storms the region has experienced the hope of a different conclusion prevailed.

     
  • AFI DOCS Film Festival Audience Award Winners: Festival Convenes Global Filmmakers With U.S. and International Leaders

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    AFI DOCS, with 81 films from 25 countries, held in Washington, DC, the annual documentary film festival brought together artists, national policy and opinion leaders along with global representatives.

     
  • Redwood Highway Review – Taking an Unforgettable Walk Through a Life Well Lived

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Redwood Highway,” from Ageless Cinema and Redwood Highway Productions, presents a road film, full of wonder, awe, drama, symbolic of life’s journey where dreams are the driver, roadside stops pleasant and detours awakening.

Donate Elite

It's the desire at Haute-Lifestyle.com to keep journalism free. Running a business, however, dictates what is now a common dilemma; a paywall, subscription or donation. Thank you for your donation.