The first Aaron Hernandez murder trial will include, eventually, a field trip. Jurors will tour the home of the former Patriot. When they do, they’ll get to see his trophy case, despite an objection by the prosecution.
Via the Associated Press, prosecutors hoped to have the trophy case hidden, so that Hernandez would not “get the benefit of having the jury be impressed by trophies or medals.”
Prosecutors also are concerned about “strategic manipulation” of the home, aimed at making Hernandez look like a family man. A religious man. Basically, a non-three-alleged-murders-that-we-know-of man.
Hernandez’s lawyers predictably want the trophies displayed. “The fact the Mr. Hernandez played for the Patriots, that’s in the case,” one of his lawyers wrote in opposition to the effort to hide the case. “The trial is about the truth. This is the truth of his house.”
The skirmish provides a glimpse of the many minor, trivial issues over which lawyers obsess. Some would say thinking a juror would be more inclined to acquit Hernandez after seeing his trophies underestimates juries. Some would say that thinking a juror wouldn’t be affected by seeing the trophies overestimates juries. Either way, both sides in a trial push for the things that could help their clients and oppose the things that could hurt their clients.
Hernandez scored another victory in Tuesday’s final pre-trial conference. His fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, and mother, Terri Hernandez, will be permitted to attend the trial even though they may testify. This allows them to hear the opening statements and the testimony of other witnesses, which allows them to tailor their own testimony accordingly. That’s why witnesses who have not yet testified typically are barred from attending a trial.
Jury selection, which had been due to begin Monday, starts Friday. Still pending, per the Boston Herald, is a request by Hernandez’s lawyers to prevent Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson from talking about Hernandez during the trial. Hodgson has commented on multiple occasions about Hernandez’s time in the Bristol County jail; Hernandez’s lawyers fear that Hodgson will pop off during the trial.
Of course, that won’t matter if the jurors honor their obligation to avoid media accounts regarding the case. Then again, if the jurors don’t honor their obligation to avoid media accounts regarding the case, Hernandez has far bigger problems that Hodgson talking about Hernandez’s jailhouse habits.