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

  • A Hologram For The King Review – Finding An Oasis in the Desert of Life

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Hologram for the King, from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, presents a new take on the proverbial fish out of water scenario, as ageing salesman Tom Hanks attempts to navigate the changing world of IT, break cultural barriers and maintain life.

     
  • di Rosa Center For Contemporary Art Reschedules Major Exhibition In Wake Of Wildfires; Opens For Select Programs November

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Due to fire and smoke damage from the recent Northern California wildfires, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, has rescheduled the opening of its next exhibition, Be Not Still: Living in Uncertain Times, for January 27, 2018.

     
  • Cannes Yachting Festival – New Waves of Inspiration With Elegance and Comfort

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    At the Cannes Yachting Festival, Berret Racoupeau's yacht design team will present their four most recent production designs: the Amel 50, the Wauquiez PS 42, the Saona and the Océanis 51, as well as other construction projects and one-off designs.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Stumps; GOP Exposed; Iran Sanctions; Yemen; WH Press Locked Out; Wildfires Rage

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has proven his single focused goal as president is to dismantle every piece of legislature enacted by former President Barack Obama and the Iranian Nuclear Deal is next on the chopping block.

     
  • World's Largest Pair of Colombian Cat's Eye Emeralds, Valued at $2Million, Added To Guernsey's April 25 Auction

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A stunning matched pair of emeralds featuring the extremely rare "cat's eye" phenomenon, weighing a remarkable 74.52 carats (total weight), has been added to an auction roster that includes what many believe is the finest assemblage of emeralds ever to appear at public sale.

     
  • President Donald Trump’s Speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit (Transcript/Prepared For Delivery)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump delivered the keynote speech focusing on destroying terrorism, and rewarding friendships, at the recent Arab Islamic American Summit held in Radiyah, Saudi Arabia to fifty-five Heads of State from the leading Arab and Muslim nations. 

     
  • Protesters Line The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Protesters lined the streets of Manhattan's Upper West brandishing signs against the hate rhetoric of President elect Donald Trump and in solid support of Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as environmental and clean water concerns and the Dakota Pipeline.

     
  • Beltway Insider: State of The Union; Saudi King Dies; UK Prime Minster Visits WH; ISIS Update

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address calling on all Americans to complete the effort each has invested in rebuilding from the shattered ruins of the economic collapse that had left economies of the world distressed.

     
  • REAL STEEL, from DreamWorks SKG, Delivers Championship Entertainment

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    REAL STEEL, from DreamWorks SKG and Executive Producers Steven Spielberg and Bob Zemeckis, brings to the screen a futuristic, fast action, emotional story of hope and triumph of the human spirit.   

     
  • Celebrity Pictures: Academy Celebrates 8th Annual Governors Awards

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    An international action movie groundbreaker, a dazzling master of film editing, a brilliant casting director, and an uncompromising documentarian all shared the spotlight for an elegant evening that represented Hollywood at its finest at the Academy's 8th Annual Governors Awards.

     
  • Life Itself Review - A Fitting Tribute, A Sorrowful Goodbye and a Hell of a Ride

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Life Itself," from Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films, presents a lasting and loving tribute to Roger Ebert, spanning his life with unprecedented access to him, the memories of his lengthy career, high and lows of life and love that seemed to transcend understanding.

     
  • Rich-Rey Productions LLC Presents Vickilyn Reynolds In Hattie McDaniel…What I Need You To Know!

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Rich-Rey Productions LLC has announced the Bay Area Premiere of HATTIE MCDANIEL…WHAT I NEED YOU TO KNOW! starring Vickilyn Reynolds as Hattie McDaniel, the trailblazing Gone with the Wind Academy Award-winner will open for an exclusive limited engagement.

     
  • Garden Lites Celebrates Fresh Culinary Approach with Revamped Look and New Line

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amid the imminent New Year health and wellness resolutions throngs will collectively commit to eating more nutritiously. One company, Garden Lites has has set its sights on helping folks achieve those goals, one tasty veggie at a time.  

  • Kon-Tiki Review – Visually Stunning, Inspirational, An Epic Tale

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “Kon-Tiki,” from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment, brings to the screen an epic tale that feeds the explorer spirit, pitting man against nature, in this real life high seas action adventure.

     
  • BACKWARDS - A High Adrenaline Drama Overflowing With Gutsy Determination

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BACKWARDS, from 13th Night Productions, brings to the screen a story of dedication, drive and determination faced by athletes who burn with a desire for excellence and live never give up.