Families of alleged Hernandez victims should get their lawsuits filed, quickly

AP

For the victims of crime, justice comes in two ways — taking away the perpetrator’s liberty via the criminal justice system, and taking away their money via the civil justice system.

And while no amount of money ever will alter the pain and despair felt by those who lost a loved one due to murder, the healing process includes making sure the person who committed the crime pays, in every way possible.

It’s usually an irrelevant exercise to sue a killer.  Most are what lawyers call “judgment-proof.”  The victim’s family ends up with a piece of paper that is worth nothing, unless and until the defendant is worth something.  (It’s still worth the time; while practicing law I heard a story from another lawyer about a child molester who had been sued and had no money to pay the seven-figure verdict — until he won the lottery.)

For Hernandez, it’s not irrelevant.  His August 2012 contract already has paid him nearly $10 million, with another $3.25 million due on March 31, 2014.  With at least a pair of high-powered (and high-priced) lawyers working hard in the coming months to cobble together an if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit reasonable-doubt defense , the money is going to go quickly.

Especially if both of the high-powered (and high-priced) lawyers show up at every hearing, as they did on Thursday.

As a result, the families of Odin Lloyd, Safiro Furtado, and Daniel Abreu should move quickly to get lawsuits filed.  And they should ask that the $3.25 million to be paid to Hernandez on March 31, 2014 be held in escrow pending the outcome of the civil claims.  In fact, the existence of civil lawsuits with an understanding that the money would be held in escrow for the benefit of the victims could prompt the Patriots to abandon their expected plan to stiff Hernandez.

Keep in mind that the standard of proof is much lower in a civil case.  Hernandez could be acquitted in criminal court (like O.J. Simpson was) and then found responsible in civil court (like O.J. Simpson was).

With three victims, a verdict easily could more than wipe out Hernandez’s fortune, or whatever of it is left after his criminal trial.  The sooner that restrictions are placed on the ability of Hernandez and his family to spend that money, the more money will be available to compensate the families of the men who may have been killed by him.

32 responses to “Families of alleged Hernandez victims should get their lawsuits filed, quickly

  1. The only guarantee is Hernandez walked away with more money than he should have and that money will never be restored to rightful and deserving ownership. Massive spillage here with this problem person and the laws are inadequate at doing a good job of achieving justice and restoration.

  2. Smart lawyers are dangerous…they can save the guilty from having to pay their dues, but cost the guilty by having to pay his dues….

  3. Since he has a child, how does child support factor into this situation? I would think the mother has the right to get a court order payment from the money he has received or will receive.

  4. Good work Florio…You are definitely on top of your game. I usually have critical things to say about you (mostly when I feel they you have a slight against my city and/or team ) ,but I compliment you as well and you are doing a great job for the victims’ families, and keeping us abreast of this ever-changing story. Kudos to you sir.

  5. Florio is spot on with this one, excellent analysis. Hopefully they read this and do what you describe. If nothing else to make sure Hernandez doesn’t continue to live the high life if he does in fact get off

  6. Lindsay Jones ‏@bylindsayhjones 3m

    RT @MassStatePolice: MSP confirming Ernest Wallace captured in Miramar, FL. Wanted in connection to Aaron Hernandez case.

  7. mike you do a great job!!! I’m always reading and tune In for the show, you, Erik and the guys do a great job!

    but I asked… you mention the guys killed in the double murder that their families seek Compensation.. however AH has yet to be charged with murders…no?!

  8. With three victims, a verdict easily could more than wipe out Hernandez’s fortune, or whatever of it is left after his criminal trial
    ———————————————————-
    Wait a minute……..

    As of this writing, Hernandez hasn’t even been remotely tied to that double-murder yet, it’s all “investigative” right now.

    With your rationale, the families of every person who has been murdered in Massachusetts in the last year ought to get their lawsuits filed, then.

  9. Civil suits are the stupidest thing in the world. You didn’t do it…but you are liable.

    Wait, what? I’d pull a Andy Dufresne-style, “Do you trust your wife? Do you think she’d go behind your back…try to hamstring you…”

    I just think that if they cannot prove you did it, how can you be liable? They do that but make a max that a person can sue a doctor for after they have the wrong leg amputated The entire system in this country is beyond broken.

  10. Excuse me, but the patriots are going to “stiff” Hernandez? The guy murdered someone, will most likely be in prison for the rest of his life. I don’t think they “stiffed” him. And I’m a Colts fan.

  11. Has he been charged on that double yet? Has he been indicted on anything or only charged? While it costs little to file, it would probably be best (financially ) to wait on pursuing a suit against someone who may have nothing to do with the victim’s death.

  12. The right thing to do is give to the families of the victims who need it most. If each has a spouse and children who will be pushed out to the street because their provider was murdered, then a certain amount of Hernandez’s assets should be placed in escrow until a civil case is decided. I’m certain that it doesn’t work that way in our system. But should not justice be about doing the right thing?

  13. Not saying Hernandez deserves to keep his money but suing criminals for every penny they have doesn’t necessarily discourage them from turning into a criminal again. It’ll probably just drive them to turn to their old ways.

    I mean if I came out of prison with no money, no income, and can’t get a job because of the felony record then selling drugs or robbing people wouldn’t be far from my mind.

    Do people survive and bounce back after prison? Sure…if they have a good support system but most people go to prison because they don’t have one in the first place. Hernandez was making millions and still did all of this. Imagine what he would do if he really has nothing to lose.

  14. pinion8ted says:
    Jun 28, 2013 2:08 PM
    With three victims, a verdict easily could more than wipe out Hernandez’s fortune, or whatever of it is left after his criminal trial
    ———————————————————-
    Wait a minute……..

    As of this writing, Hernandez hasn’t even been remotely tied to that double-murder yet, it’s all “investigative” right now.

    With your rationale, the families of every person who has been murdered in Massachusetts in the last year ought to get their lawsuits filed, then.
    ———–

    While I’ll agree he hasn’t been charged in it, to say “he hasn’t even been remotely tied” to the double homicide is completely inaccurate. He’s been tied to it publicly via the rental car, and who knows what else investigators have found that they haven’t made public.

  15. The theory of civil proceedings is fine, but the victims still can’t collect anything until they have their own (expensive) civil trial.

    As for putting funds in escrow (which means no lone can use them) in the interim, even this step also requires some potentially expensive proceedings, and it’s possible the victims either have no funds to commence such proceedings and/or are worried about the disclosures that would be made about their own (or the deceaseds’) conduct by AH lawyers. Further I suspect the Patriots are not only motivated to seek tthe saem kind of order, but much better prepared to spend the money necessary to secure an escrow order. Once funds are in escrow, any judgment creditor can claim their share.

    Then again, considering the mother’s statements, it’s not hard to see that she might try to move funds around to be unreachable.

    This is an issue that local MA lawyers will have to opine on because each state has its own rules.

  16. If he signs the house over to the baby-momma before assets are frozen or the civil suits are filed, would the victim’s family be able to sue her too?

  17. Hernandez would be smart to gather as much cash as he can and stash it.

    He could sell the house for $1 to someone.

    Not that it matters much. Odds are if he is found guilty he’ll be broke and in prison. Heck, if he is found innocent he will likely be broke as well.

  18. the first commentor says suing the American way DAMN is shooting people and getting away with it the American way I say frezze every penny hes got maybe his high priced lawyers will decide hes not so innocent if they don’t think they will get paid

  19. So all the trailer trash that’s ever crossed a street in New England should get their law suit ready now!

  20. A typical Cleveland raven fan kissing the hand of this site. you know who you are.!!!!!!! REALLY.

  21. So you want the families of the other two victims to sue Hernandez when right now there’s only a vague suspicion that he was involved in that shooting? What basis would they have in that case if they decided to do that? Until and if they charge him with those murders then those families can take action

  22. FinFan68 says:
    Jun 28, 2013 2:37 PM
    If he signs the house over to the baby-momma before assets are frozen or the civil suits are filed, would the victim’s family be able to sue her too?

    *****

    The house is not actually in Hernandez’s name; it’s actually owned by an LLC as an “asset protection plan.”

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