As you are probably aware, the first murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) continues in Fall River. In this case, he is charged with the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd.
No doubt, many interesting facts and allegations have come to light during the testimony. There is one aspect of the testimony which I think is particularly noteworthy and something you should realize.
It can be summed up in one word. Surveillance.
In the Defendant’s case, surveillance videos have been played to the jurors allegedly showing the Defendant’s movements during various times around the alleged time of the murder.
Between the videos already played to the jury, the Defendant is allegedly seen returning home from a night out celebrating Father’s Day with his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins. They are greeted by two Hernandez friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, who are also charged in the murder. Both men have pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately. the Defendant is also seen walking through the living room carrying a black object at about 12:45 a.m. The Commonweath claims that object is a gun.
In other video portions, the Defendant is apparently seen getting into the front passenger seat of a Nissan Altima rental car and leaving at 1:09 a.m. Wallace is driving and Ortiz sits in the rear driver’s-side seat.
Other video, taken at a gas station south of Boston, is said to show that an about an hour later, the Defendant nd played earlier driving the Nissan. Prosecutors have previously said they went to pick up Lloyd, then took him to the industrial park, where he was shot to death shortly before 3:30 a.m.
The Nissan was returned to the rental car agency later that day with scrapes along the driver’s side and a missing driver’s-side mirror, according to previous testimony.
The videos are pulled together by the prosecution to establish a timeline to, if nothing else, corroborate its other evidence.
Not only is this hardly unusual, but with the ever-growing technology, the web of “surveillance” is becoming wider and wider.
Anybody remember a little story called “1982“?
Attorney Sam’s Take On Big Brother’s Relationship With Prosecutions
Video surveillance is a funny thing in the criminal law system.
Sometimes, it bites the hand that feeds it. For example, in this case, it is a good bet that the surveillance cameras around the defendants property would put up by him for security reasons. However, they turned out to be evidence for the prosecution. The fact that the prosecution is using evidence which the defendant, himself, created is not unusual.There is no argument that can be made by the defense that the government should not be able to use the tapes against him because of any ownership rights by him.
Cameras owned and operated by lot enforcement agents have a funny sort of existence as well. When the Commonwealth wants to show what a particular suspect does well-being booked in the police station, such as in a drunk driving case, the Commonwealth often has videotapes from the easily viewable video cameras that I’m all over the precinct. However, I tend to find That when I want such tapes because I think they will actually help my client, such tapes don’t exist. The video cameras didn’t work. The video cameras haven’t worked for years. We don’t use tapes in those videocameras.
Apparently in such situations, the video cameras which simply there for show at that particular time. Funny how that happens.
On the other hand, there are cameras all over the place outside which are owned by commercial enterprises. These, one would expect, a wrap for grabs. The problem is it is a question of who gets to these video cameras first. __Unfortunately, it is usually lot enforcement that gets two sets cameras first. Purely coincidentally, I’m sure, videotapes which are harmful to the defense I found two exist. Videotapes Which may have exonerated a particular suspect… Do not.
Of course, many defendants have no idea about the need for video tapes until they are charged. Often this is months later. And so, if they had not been taken by the police, they may will already be erased.
Given the amount of cases which tend to hinge on issues of suppressing evidence which often involved occurrences around the policE cruiser, I have often thought it odd that cameras are not regularly set on cruisers. Of course, some times they are. Probably depends on jurisdiction. After all , if we are a society in which the police are always reacting properly, why watch the watchmen?
Is that still what we are?
Which brings us to another set of always available cameras.
It does seem to be funny, though, how, while prosecutors are often happy to receive such footage…police officers are not terribly happy to have the camera on them during an encounter which ends up in an arrest?
Could it be all the videos coming up of needless beatings and shootings by police officers?
No, I must be getting paranoid in my old age.
There is A lesson for you in this, however. While, sometimes, having an encounter might save your life, it might turn out to be evidence against you. Further, police officers a generally not going to be too happy when they see you recording the reality of your encounters with them.
Take from this what you will… I am just giving you the reality of the situation.
NOTE TO READER: The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog is back after a hiatus. The good folks at Altman and Altman did some revamping of the site to make it easier for you. Take advantage of it! In any case, we will not be back to between three and five blocks per week
To review the story upon which this blog is based, please go to