Hernandez invokes Fifth Amendment in Florida shooting case


One of Aaron Hernandez’s various legal complications has become somewhat more complicated for the former Patriots tight end.

As explained earlier this week by Wesley Lowery of the Boston Globe, Hernandez has relied on his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination in the civil suit that claims he shot a friend in the face in February 2013.

The use of the Fifth Amendment comes in Hernandez’s formal written response to the civil complaint.  Per Lowery, Hernandez uses the following sentence 13 times:  “Defendant asserts his rights under the Fifth Amendment and, therefore, declines to respond to the allegations.”

Unlike a criminal case, where juries are told that silence cannot be used against a defendant, folks who refuse to testify in a civil case do so at their own financial peril.  If/when the case filed by Alexander Bradley goes to trial, the jury likely will be told that it can draw an adverse inference from Hernandez’s refusal to testify.

In other words, the jury will be entitled to conclude that, by declining to say anything about the situation, Hernandez must have done something.  Combined with the 51-49 “preponderance of the evidence” standard for civil cases, Bradley loses the case only if the jury finds his story to be so incredible that it overcomes Hernandez’s refusal to say, “I didn’t do it.”

The bigger challenge for Bradley will be getting compensated.  Hernandez’s money currently is being devoted to the defense against pending murder charges in Massachusetts, with another potential double-murder charge still lingering.

Bradley may end up having to rely on trying to get his hands on the earned but unpaid bonus money from the Patriots.  But Bradley may have to box out the families of up to three murder victims in order to receive compensation for being shot in the head by the man who currently refuses to say that he didn’t do it.

Hernandez’s willingness to throw in the towel on the civil suit suggests that he legitimately fears prosecution for the shooting in Florida.  As he should.  Especially if he isn’t able or willing to say, “I didn’t do it.”

20 responses to “Hernandez invokes Fifth Amendment in Florida shooting case

  1. I understand there is a process and everything but this seems like it’s going to be a ridiculously long and expensive case. And it is the taxpayers who end up paying for it.

  2. Anyone with $ in this country are usually above the law. Everyone knows that the poor and unfortunate are the victims in this country and guys like Hernandez are given chances those with less $ are not.

    $ makes this world go around. Dems the facts.

    Hernandez will walk on some technicality.

  3. “In other words, the jury will be entitled to conclude that, by declining to say anything about the situation, Hernandez must have done something.”

    If this guy shoots a friend in the face, he has killer written all over him………

  4. Regarding the civil case, the taxpayers don’t pay any greater a portion than for any of the other myriad civil cases in the system, including business disputes between large corporations.

  5. Can you believe the low character new england patriots hired this guy and paid him millions to put the citizens of Massachusetts at risk?!?

    Terrible organization.

  6. Still amazes me that he fell so far. Where he was in his NFL career, it makes no sense for him to have committed the alleged murder. Assuming he is convicted, he obviously has some real issues and should not be let out for the remainder of his life. Instead of making money, he is going to be costing us, the taxpayer for the next 60 years.

  7. The sad part is that he could have avoided all this by invoking the Sixth Commandment:

    “Thou shalt not kill.”

  8. Yeah, in California – one can infer an Admission by Silence in a civil case. And the BOP is pretty much a given at that point.

    Interesting: the Hernandez Civil Case apparently is further along than the Criminal Matter(s) — which is the opposite sequencing of the Simpson trials of nearly 20 years ago, which conceivably could have worked to Simpson’s detriment in the mid-90’s.

  9. What’s left out of this analysis is whether the plaintiff has enough circumstantial evidence to get the case to a jury without obtaining discovery from Hernandez. Unless a default order is entered, one can’t just allege something, the defendant legitimately plead the Fifth, and then have the jury award damages. There has to be credible evidence introduced by the plaintiff to corroborate his/her theory of liability and damages. Without such evidence, the defendant prevails as a matter of law. Although the plaintiff’s burden in a civil case is less than a criminal matter, it is still a burden they have to carry.

    That’s why OJ Simpson’s civil trial came after his criminal proceeding. The plaintiffs’ attorneys knew they wouldn’t have sufficient evidence to move forward until after they took his deposition. And until the criminal trial was over, that wasn’t going to happen.

    So Hernandez isn’t necessarily throwing in the towel in the civil case. Not by a long shot. He timely filed an answer and properly pled the Fifth. Now it’s back on the plaintiffs to see if they can prove their case without him.

  10. The story released to the press so far has Hernandez playing in real life like he thought he was a version of Tony Montana of Scarface fame.

    I guess Aaron forgot the part at end with the guy with the sunglasses and the shotgun.

    Several lives and families destroyed because of this man.

    If he is indeed guilty of everything charged, I hope he is in jail for life.

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