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Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network.
To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 206-1942.

Posted On: June 20, 2013

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS’ AARON HERNANDEZ IS INVESTIGATED IN MASSACHUSETTS HOMICIDE

New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez has a problem. Massachusetts criminal investigation type problem. That problem may be compounded by civil allegations from another state. After hearing some advice suggested to Mr. Hernandez from a gentleman in the profession of public relations on WBZ radio (1030am) this morning, this Boston criminal lawyer would like to put a little perspective on the current state of this situation.

I like to call this perspective “Reality”.

You see, there seems to be some surprise and debate over the fact that Mr. Hernandez has hired an attorney and that, in the meantime he is talking to neither the press nor the police.

The police have made it clear that they are investigating the matter as a homicide.

As you have probably heard, 27-year-old Odin Lloyd of Dorchester’s body was found Monday in a field in North Attleboro, about half-a-mile from the Mr. Hernandez’ home. He had been shot in the head.

Apparently, Lloyd was driving an SUV that had been rented in the name Hernandez’ name. There is another connection between the two. Mr. Lloyd was dating a woman who is the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

In the beginning, Mr. Hernandez is said to have cooperated with investigators. This has stopped. He has hired an attorney from the Boston law firm Ropes and Gray. An attorney at the firm issued the following statement yesterday:

“It has been widely reported in the media that the state police have searched the home of our client, Aaron Hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation. Out of respect for that process, neither we nor Aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion.”

Meanwhile, of course, the investigation continues. Last night, the Bristol County District Attorney’s office asked the public for help finding a silver mirror cover connected to the investigation.

Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter says the mirror, “is believed to have been broken off a vehicle, and may be visible along a route of travel between Dorchester and North Attleboro.”

At the same time, Mr. Hernandez is battling allegations out of state for allegedly having shot someone else who lost an eye due to the episode.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Making Statements And Hiring A Lawyer

When I heard this so-called public relations expert this morning opine that Hernandez should ignore the advice of his lawyer and make statements so as to preserve his public image, I found myself yelling at the radio.

Fortunately, I was alone at the time.

Often, in these matters, one has to be careful and realize that these decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis. In this case, however, a couple things seem pretty clear.

The first thing that is clear is that the P.R. expert might want to rethink his chosen profession. While, I know that I am no more learned in P.R. than this expert is in the law, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that being charged with murder might tarnish the Hernandez image a bit. I am going to go a bit further and opine that being convicted for murder might adversely effect his career as well.

And if Mr. Hernandez were to follow this gentleman’s advice, he will be taking a giant step forward toward being charged with the crime.

“Well, Sam, why would that be if Hernandez is innocent?”

Law enforcement is investigating a murder case. They have clearly not ruled out Hernandez as a suspect. As with any homicide case, particularly one with famous names attached, there is a great deal of pressure on them to make an arrest. You may be sure that, at the very least, investigators have already form potential theories as to how the murder took place.

All that is left now is to fill in pieces that will fit.

Despite the “all we want is the truth” flag law enforcement likes to wave, this is not always true. What they want is to close the case and get out of the burning spotlight. I am not saying that investigators routinely make arrests based upon theories that they know not to be true. However, as I have often told you, the conception of “truth” in these matters depends upon one’s perspective.

Police interrogations are not generally very comfortable. They are also not usually terribly open-minded. Hernandez has already made some statements, so police have had one bite at that apple. That they want more very likely means they are searching for statements that they can use against him and leads that he might, willingly or unwillingly, give up to them.

Such “leads” can come out whether or not Hernandez is involved with the slaying.

In other words, people can be pressured by experts in interrogation to get confused. Seemingly inconsistent. Also, statements can be misinterpreted...either intentionally or unintentionally. The term "twisted like a pretzel" comes to mind.

So, what it comes down to is that most lawyers would tell Mr. Hernandez to keep his mouth shut at this point (which, by the way, is his Constitutional right).

To ignore the advice of attorneys to follow the short-sighted-if-sighted-at-all advice offered by someone seemingly ill-acquainted with criminal justice common sense would be what we lawyers call “stupid”.

Maybe we should look into ties between this P.R. expert and law enforcement in order to make sense out of his advice.


If you would like to see the original story upon this blog is based, please go to
http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/06/20/police-search-for-car-mirror-in-aaron-hernandez-investigation/