Aaron Hernandez v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, decided in 2013, is one of the cases that entailed the prosecution’s capacity to show enough evidence in a court trial adequately. A case must have ultimately persuaded the judges that the accused is responsible for the crime committed without any doubt. When applying the burden of proof, it is typically the fundamental role of the party disputing the accusations, defence, or claims. Generally, there are two aspects to the burden of proof, the production burden, and the persuasion burden. The production burden refers to generating concrete evidence in a court. The burden of proof can involve the ability to persuade the judges to a given level of belief (Croaker, 2015). The prosecution has the burden of proof if it can demonstrate and establish both of these elements.
Aaron Michael Hernandez was alleged to have committed the first-degree murder with additional cases such as carrying an unlicensed firearm and two large firearm possessions by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Aaron Hernandez epitomizes the patriots of the National Football League that is played in England. Hernandez was regarded as one of, if not the best player at his position, at his arrest. As a result, his arrest surprised many people, and the public and press eagerly anticipated the started trial and eventual court appearance (Croaker, 2015). The perpetration was determined to imply that no one was above the law despite one’s social position.
During Aaron Hernandez’s opening remarks, the attorneys used a lot of persuasions and extensive data to put seeds in the jurors’ minds. During the trials, two attorneys, Jose Baez and Michael Fee, were the most persuasive legal personnel when the conviction’s opening remarks were initiated. Based on Baez, there was no significant evidence that Hernandez was involved in the murder case, considering no bullet residues or distinctive fingerprints. One of the surfacing things in this trial includes the lies emanating from Hernandez’s friend, Alexander Bradley, who gave different versions of the occurrence leading to the crime. While trying to implicate doubt in the judges’ minds, Michael Fee constantly repeated the words “his friend Odin Lloyd” which would have allowed Hernandez to get a verdict that found him without any offense based on Lloyd’s death (Croaker, 2015). Additionally, Michael Fee asked the jurors, “Why would Hernandez kill his source of the best blunts?”
Based on Michael Fee’s statements to the judges, when the cops identified that Hernandez was a friend to Lloyd, they started persuading him, which denied Hernandez a chance to explain. Nevertheless, while the jurors continued to listen to the prosecutor’s version of the incidence, Michael Fee urged them to remain open-minded (Croaker, 2015). Michael Fee provided imperative statements to convince the judge that Hernandez was not guilty during the opening arguments.
Patrick Bromberg is the lead prosecutor in this case, and he gives critical details from a timeline of events surrounding Odin Lloyd’s shooting death during his opening statements. He explained what happened on the surveillance tape, what evidence was left at the crime scene, what text messages were sent before the murder, and how Hernandez could wipe some of the evidence. A screenshot of the rented Nissan Altima was shown in court (Croaker, 2015). Aaron Hernandez was seen firing five bullets after returning home with the handgun that had killed Odin Lloyd. Only three people returned to Aaron Hernandez’s house that night after the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
Establishing/Challenging a Prima Facie Case for Murder
As opposed to Aaron Hernandez’s expectation, the Commonwealth’s prosecution is predicated on demonstrating prima facie, and his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins played a vital role in that regard. The trial uncovered during the investigation that Mr. Hernandez texted Ms. Jenkins, asking her to throw away all of the proof. Based on the footage recorded by Hernandez’s camera, Ms. Jenkins was shown pulling a waste bag from her home. Additionally, Ms. Jenkins told the jury that she indeed took a box to the direction of Hernandez a day after the murder was committed. Because the package was not found, we have no idea what was inside. Ms. Jenkins believed the box only contained marijuana, despite the prosecution’s contention that it contained the murder weapon. Since Ms. Jenkins showed fear in giving complete information on what happened after the murder, the court granted her immunity to encourage her to dispone (DeAngelo, 2020). When the grand court investigation was conducted, she testified that “no one told her to remove the box and that it was not significant to her,” contradicting her evidence (DeAngelo, 2020). Jenkins’ testimony was crucial in the murder cases, despite the failures.
While the evidence provided during the case hearings was insufficient, the proofs were greatly devasting to Hernandez. The prosecution recovered only a few text conversations connecting Odin Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez. Conversely, the most crucial evidence was the footage recorded by the security camera present at Hernandez’s residence. In this film, Hernandez can be seen wandering around the house daily. At one point in the footage, Mr. Hernandez is seen strolling toward the basement while clutching what appears to be a gun (Gregory, 2020). For Hernandez to be identified as the central suspect in Lloyd’s death, investigators tracked him down using the mobile tower close to Hernandez’s house.
The charges pressed on Hernandez continued to soar when other offenses he had committed previously were revamped in the court. Despite killing Lloyd, evidence showed Hernandez performed witness protection intimidation, following Bradley’s taunts towards Hernandez based on the 2012 murder cases. Nevertheless, there was a discovery of the same blue bubble gum in a Nissan Altima that was believed to belong to Hernandez, which was again central in Lloyd’s death. This blue bubble gun was located in a dumpster, and he had even given some to the automobile rental company’s manager, who had no objection at the time (Gregory, 2020). Hernandez was suspected of committing the crime because Odin Lloyd’s fingerprints were also found throughout the Nissan Altima.
During closing arguments, Aaron Hernandez’s lead lawyer stated that his client was present at the time of Odin Lloyd’s murder and witnessed it but claimed he did not conduct the offense. He went on to tell the jury that Hernandez’s reactions resemble those of a toddler who would not know how to react after someone has been shot to death. For the lawyer, the co-defendants were blamed for the murders. Based on William McCauley, Deputy Attorney, Hernandez’s reactions implied that he was central in the killing of Lloyd. Hernandez’s lawyer opposed this claim by postulating the premise that Hernandez and Lloyd were close friends and even prospective brothers-in-law. Therefore, no evidence would amount to showing Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd. The prosecution’s task of persuading the jury had been made easier by the rationale mentioned above. Mr. Hernandez is a controlling individual, according to the trial (Gregory, 2020). Therefore, Wallace or Ortiz shooting Mr. Lloyd would not surprise him. They went back in time before the murders to confirm that Mr. Hernandez was the brain and plotter behind the crime.
In this case, some of the outside elements were Aaron Hernandez’s associations with numerous professional footballers and his previous roommate, who disponed throughout the trial. According to the district attorney’s office, Hernandez was identified to have used coded conversations that discussed Lloyd’s death. The court denied the prosecutors’ request for recordings of Aaron Hernandez’s phone calls. Singleton, his nephew, had declined to press charges during the Hernandez murder case and was sentenced to one year of probation and one year of home confinement (DeAngelo, 2020). Aaron Hernandez was found not guilty in the 2012 dual homicide investigation.
Inconclusively, this case showed me how incidental evidence is provided and how it affects a subject. Although there was little direct evidence, in this case, the prosecution offered enough evidence to provide Mr. Hernandez with an incentive. Even though there has been no direct evidence that Aaron Hernandez perpetrated the acts, his presence at the scene and video footage looked sufficient to prosecute him. The case has shown me that the right to hear substantial evidence and persuasion can lead to a conviction or not. From the prosecution’s standpoint, all that is required is adequate persuasion regarding the burden of proof to obtain a conviction.
Croaker Q. (2015). Aaron Hernandez trial – day 1 – part 1 (Opening Statements) [Video]. YouTube.
Croaker Q. (2015). Aaron Hernandez trial – day 1 – part 2 (Opening Statements) [Video]. YouTube.
DeAngelo, J. (2020). The doctrine of abatement Ab Initio in Commonwealth v. Hernandez. New Englamd.
Gregory, H. (2020). Making a murderer: Media renderings of brain injury and Aaron Hernandez as a medical and sporting subject. Social Science & Medicine.