SC Law Blog

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Aaron Hernandez and the Criminal Process

New England Patriots’ starting tight end Aaron Hernandez is facing murder charges. The news that he was suspected of killing semi pro football player Odin Lloyd came as a shock to many.  He was just given a $40 million dollar contract to continue to play football for the Patriots. But, perhaps you wouldn’t be so shocked that he was facing these charges if you knew his history. You might just know Aaron Hernandez as a star football player for the Patriots. But, dig deeper into his past and you will see he has been questioned about his possible involvement in prior crimes.

Aaron Hernandez is currently being sued civilly for allegedly shooting a man in the face several times. He is also being investigated in a 2012 drive by shooting that left two other men dead in Boston. It has also been reported that in 2007 he was questioned about a shooting following a Florida Gators football game. Does this background information change the way you feel about Aaron Hernandez? Perhaps you no longer feel shocked by the fact that he is suspected of killing Odin Lloyd.

Under American law, the suspect is innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor bears the burden of proof and the prosecutor must show the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt under criminal law. After the prosecutor pleads his case, the defendant will have the opportunity to present a defense that raises doubt about whether he committed the crime or should be excused of the crime. The most common defenses a defendant will raise include: denial of committing the crime at all, evidence of an alibi witness which raises doubt as to whether you could have committed the crime, self defense, and the insanity defense. Whether you are on the prosecution side or the defense side, a good attorney can develop the best trial strategies for your particular case. The prosecutor has the ability to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the particular crime while the defense attorney has the ability to raise doubt as to whether the defendant committed the particular crime.

In a criminal trial such as this one, the jury will weigh the evidence from both sides and decide Aaron Hernandez’s fate. The judge always gives specific instructions to the jury on the law and the jury must take the facts of the case and apply them to the law. This is a highly publicized case since it involves a famous football player. It is likely the trial will not be open to the general public as many trials are. The jury will be told to avoid media both in person and on television. Also, the jury will be instructed not to discuss the case with others outside the jury room. Would you want to be a jury member on a high profile case such as this one?

Much like the OJ Simpson case, this case will likely keep media attention for quite some time. Much of what people know about criminal law they learn from television. But, criminal law is not all about the theatrics you see displayed in the courtroom on television. As you can see from this post, criminal law is much more complicated than what you see on television. The complications presented by the reasonable doubt standard in criminal law shows the importance of hiring an experienced criminal law attorney. Contact your experienced criminal law attorney Daniel Selwa today to discuss your case.

1 comment:

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