Last month, prosecutors sought a one-month delay of the probable cause hearing in the murder case against Aaron Hernandez. Today, their time is up.
As explained by the Fall River (Mass.) Herald News, the probable cause hearing remains set for today. It’s a threshold test of the evidence against Hernandez; if probable cause exists to believe he killed Odin Lloyd, Hernandez will stand trial at a later date. If a judge determines probable cause does not exist, the charges will be dropped.
From a strategic standpoint, the probable cause hearing gives Hernandez’s lawyers an advance crack at poking holes in the evidence, with the goal of creating reasonable doubt at trial. It’s highly unlikely that a judge would find no probable cause exists to believe Hernandez killed Lloyd, given the evidence as previously outlined by prosecutors at Hernandez’s bail hearing.
The delay in the probable cause hearing likely arose from the anticipation that Hernandez will be indicted on the charges by a grand jury, which applies the same “probable cause” standard. But Hernandez has not yet been indicted, and Hernandez’s lawyers strenuously objected to the delay when it was requested last month.
They’ll object even more strenuously to another attempt to run out the clock while the grand jury secretly hears evidence from the prosecution — with no opportunity to challenge the evidence for the defense.
Don’t be shocked, then, if the long-awaited indictment of Hernandez comes today, before the hearing is scheduled to begin.