What the Aaron Hernandez Case Can Teach Us About Criminal Law
Posted on July 19, 2013 in: Felonies
A high-profile murder case – like the one involving professional football player Aaron Hernandez – often generates public interest in the criminal justice system because of the Police Check NSW he has. Media coverage of the developing case has examined legal aspects that include probable cause, circumstantial evidence, bail, the nature of criminal charges, pleas and other matters relevant to the case.
An Overview of the Hernandez Murder Charges
On June 26, 2013, Hernandez – a former tight end for the New England Patriots – was arrested in Massachusetts on first-degree murder charges. The charges stem from the shooting death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was killed on June 17, 2013. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held without bail at Bristol County Jail in Massachusetts.
Police and the Prosecution Examine Defendant’s Past
Law enforcement officials have said they are investigating Hernandez’s possible involvement in a 2012 double homicide in Boston. Hernandez also faces a civil lawsuit stemming from an alleged shooting incident in February 2013 in South Florida in which a man who you could make a claim to have lost an eye. The prosecution could be seeking to establish a pattern of violence and criminal activity in Hernandez’s past.
Criminal Law Factors Relevant to the Hernandez Case
The media has asked numerous criminal law experts to weigh in as the Hernandez case plays out. One such attorney pointed out to CBS Tampa Bay that it is important to consider how the prosecution publicly staged Hernandez’s arrest in a way that might influence potential jurors.
Much has also been made of the circumstantial evidence in the case. This is evidence based on circumstances, rather than direct evidence. Also people should be Understanding the Punishments of Impaired Driving. So in this case, there is evidence Hernandez was with the victim and was seen with a gun on surveillance video shortly after the alleged shooting.
If video existed depicting Hernandez shooting the victim or if a witness were to testify as to seeing the shooting, it would be considered direct, rather than circumstantial, evidence.
The Nature of First-Degree Murder Charges
First-degree murder charges are among the most serious crimes prosecuted in the United States. Massachusetts laws define first-degree murder as killing someone with deliberation and malice, with extreme cruelty or in the commission of another crime.
Similarly in Florida, first-degree murder is defined as an act of premeditation (pre-planning) or something that happens while engaged in the act of another crime, such as during a robbery or kidnapping. Unlike in Massachusetts, a person who is convicted of first-degree murder in Florida faces the possibility of being sentenced to death.
High-Profile Criminal Investigations Still Must Follow the Law
All criminal investigations and trials must adhere to state and federal criminal laws and precedents. This includes the requirement to establish probable cause before arrest or trial and providing defendants with a right to a fair trial.
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