Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez continues to await trial on a trial of murder charges. In the case arising from the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, Hernandez’s legal team has scored a victory.
On Thursday, Judge Susan Garsh issued an eight-page ruling that suppresses all evidence retrieved from a search of Hernandez’s apartment in Franklin, Massachusetts.
The search arose from an effort to retrieve the cellphone of Carlos Ortiz, who was with Hernandez and Lloyd on the night of the murder. While at the apartment to get the cellphone, police made observations that resulted in five more warrants — which in turn resulted in the retrieval of various types of ammunition and other property.
Judge Garsh found that the affidavit supporting the search warrant for Ortiz’s phone failed to establish probable cause to conclude that the phone is related to the criminal activity under investigation. As a result, the phone and all other evidence later obtained via separate search warrants can’t be introduced at trial.
While a win for Hernandez’s legal team, the ruling likely has little impact on the question of whether he’ll be convicted at trial, since none of the evidence from the apartment is the proverbial (or in this case literal) smoking gun. But it’s a reminder that Hernandez has very real rights, thanks to a system that would much rather see 10 guilty men go free than one innocent be wrongfully imprisoned.