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

  • Beltway Insider: Ebola Update; ISIS/ISIL Military Action Continues; Mid-Term Elections; Nigerian Girls

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama and the CDC continued to implement  challenging reforms incorporating risk assessment guidelines to include health care and military personnel engaged in the assisting the Ebola fight to determine the level of risk, upon return, to the general population.

     
  • Burn Out Review - Gritty, Edgy, A High Octane Thrill Ride

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Burn Out, from 24 25 films and WY Productions presents a powerful contemporary drama set inner city Paris, where the local dealers hold neighborhoods hostage, turf wars are common and dreamers still strive and fight to find a way out.

     
  • 9 Pretty Pick-Me-Ups – Home Gift Guide

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Spring is that perennial time of renewal. Whether you desire to breathe new life into your personal care regime, beautify your home or add some trendy new styles to your wardrobe, here are some spring pick-me-ups that'll have you sitting pretty all season long.

     
  • Holiday Gift Guide: Wine And Spirits Suited for Any Season

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the Holiday Season is here there is no better way to usher in good tidings than with a delicious specialty cocktail, something on the rocks, or neat, please. And with global sales exceeding 20 million liters, the world, it seems, agrees.

     
  • Paris Fashion Week Coverage: Ewa Minge Fall/Winter 2017/18 Couture Collection – Fairy Tales

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Inspired by the ancient gypsy fables that transport all into an enchanted, joyful, dancing world, Ewa Minge, Poland’s most celebrated and well known designer, recently showed her Fall/Winter 2017/18 collection during the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, France.

     
  • The Colony Review - Cannibalism in Apocalyptic Winter Leaves Me Cold

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “The Colony,” from RLJ Entertainment and Sierra Pictures, brings to the screen a terrifying fast moving sci-fi apocalyptic winter thriller that captures the breakdown of society, the species and the lengths needed to survive.

     
  • Kerridge’s Bar & Grill Opens On September 10, 2018 At Corinthia Hotel London

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Corinthia Hotel London is proud to announce that renowned Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, will open his first London restaurant, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, at the hotel on Monday, September 10, 2018, with reservation lines now open. 

     
  • Iconic Luxury Designer Brands at Baselworld2014 Tonino Lamborghini: New E-Boutique

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BOLOGNA, ITALY--(March 26, 2014) - The Tonino Lamborghini Group Italian luxury accessories company will showcase its design icons at Baselworld2014, the world watch and jewellery show. The new Swiss Made watches will be unveiled during the show. With sporty designs, strongly evocative of the brand's history, each detail of each watch highlights the passion for speed and mechanics that define the culture of the brand.

     
  • 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.  

     
  • Lladró Presents Niagara Chandelier Gold

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Lladró, the world renowned Spanish porcelain company, presents Niagara Chandelier-Gold, a new version of spectacular Niagara chandelier decorated with golden luster. Over 100 handmade porcelain fairies flutter around this lamp with a diameter of 1.1 meters (31 1/2").

     
  • Something Rotten Review – Raucous Surprises, a Roaring Good Time

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Something Rotten!, Broadway’s newest musical, is so fun it's hard to say for sure who was having a better time at the St. James Theater the other night, the audience or the actors and musicians on stage.  

     
  • Bridgend Review - Stirring, Resonating, Shocking

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bridgend presents a shocking true story of the suicide epidemic in South Wales that overwhelmed a village as one by one their youth decided that dying was a better alternative, the soul stirring accounts are gripping in their portrayals.

 

Login Form