Odin Lloyd text messages excluded from evidence in Hernandez trial

AP

On January 5, jury selection begins in the first murder trial involving former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.  Which means that the balance of the month will feature periodic rulings and decisions regarding the evidence that will or won’t be introduced.

Most recently, Judge E. Susan Garsh has ruled that text messages sent by Odin Lloyd to his sister on the evening of his murder will be excluded from the trial.

“U see who I’m with?” Lloyd texted his sister on the morning of his murder, after he left his home with Hernandez.  “NFL, just so you know.”

The article from Jenny Wilson of the Hartford Courant doesn’t explain why the evidence was excluded.  Judge Garsh may have concluded that it was hearsay that didn’t fall into any of the various exceptions to the hearsay rule.  (For those interested and/or afflicted with insomnia, the exceptions to the hearsay rule when the person who made the statement isn’t available to testify at trial appear in Rule 804 of the rules of evidence.)  Also, the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution may have contributed to the ruling.

Judge Garsh also determined that texts from Hernandez to his alleged accomplices instructing them to come to Massachusetts from Connecticut on the night of the shooting could be used as evidence, along with surveillance video showing Hernandez and others carrying guns into Hernandez’s house, something that allegedly occurred after Lloyd was shot.

24 responses to “Odin Lloyd text messages excluded from evidence in Hernandez trial

  1. I hate to say it, but I would not at all be surprised if Hernandez is found not guilty after trial. The Commonwealth just seems to have too many evidentiary holes in its case.

  2. @peymax1693

    If he is found not guilty in this case then he will be hit with the double murder from 2012. Way too much evidence in that case for him not to be found guilty plus the court will use this case to show how sketchy of a figure he is.

    If he gets let off on both cases I will go absolutely nuts.

  3. Common sense tells you why he sent those texts. Even the defense understands those texts to be bad for their case otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered challenging them. Apparently the only person involved in this case that doesn’t see what was behind the sending of the texts is this judge.

  4. Section 804. Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable
    ….(2) Statement Made Under Belief of Impending Death. In a prosecution for homicide, a statement made by a declarant-victim under the belief of imminent death and who died shortly after making the statement, concerning the cause or circumstances of what the declarant believed to be the declarants own impending death or that of a co-victim

    My guess: the defense argued that the victim’s text message could not be determined as victim’s belief of imminent death. Probably because the prosecution cannot introduce victim’s apparent knowledge that the accused has killed before (the other murder case) to support a vague message as being under the belief of imminent death.

  5. Rule 804. Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable
    (a) Criteria for Being Unavailable. A declarant is considered to be unavailable as a witness if the declarant:

    (4) cannot be present or testify at the trial or hearing because of death or a then-existing infirmity, physical illness, or mental illness;

    (b) The Exceptions. The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:

    (6) Statement Offered Against a Party That Wrongfully Caused the Declarant’s Unavailability.

    A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused — or acquiesced in wrongfully causing — the declarant’s unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result.

  6. “My guess: the defense argued that the victim’s text message could not be determined as victim’s belief of imminent death. Probably because the prosecution cannot introduce victim’s apparent knowledge that the accused has killed before (the other murder case) to support a vague message as being under the belief of imminent death.”

    Very reasonable guess.

    Also, I believe that the Court concluded that the Commonwealth’s argument that Hernandez was the person Lloyd identified as “NFL” on the text was too speculative for the Jury to consider.

    I’m not saying the Judge was wrong, but I doubt that Odin Lloyd hung out with several NFL players

  7. (4) cannot be present or testify at the trial or hearing because of death or a then-existing infirmity, physical illness, or mental illness;

    (b) The Exceptions. The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:

    (6) Statement Offered Against a Party That Wrongfully Caused the Declarant’s Unavailability.

    A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused — or acquiesced in wrongfully causing — the declarant’s unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result.

    I believe I understand where you’re going: The text message should come in as evidence against Hernandez because he murdered Lloyd to prevent him from disclosing what he knew about the 2012 murders.

    The problem is that the Court: (1) found that the Commonwealth did not have enough evidence establishing that Lloyd knew about the 2012 murders; and (2) the reference to “NFL” was not enough to establish that Lloyd meant Hernandez.

  8. “Common sense tells you why he sent those texts. Even the defense understands those texts to be bad for their case otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered challenging them. Apparently the only person involved in this case that doesn’t see what was behind the sending of the texts is this judge”

    Since when does common sense have anything to do with the US legal system ?

    Secondly, if it was a text message that had a selfie showing him and Hernadez maybe it would be acceptable evidence, the phrases “see who I’m with” and “NFL so you know” could be interpreted in many ways. I don’t believe any judge should be allowing ambiguous hearsay evidence.

  9. Just goes to show that if you can afford some high-priced lawyers you can buy your way out….just like OJ did.

  10. Hopefully they won’t have as much luck getting evidence excluded in the other trial.

  11. It doesn’t matter if Hernandez walks on this case; they’ve got him dead-to-rights on that double homicide in ’12.

  12. “I believe I understand where you’re going: The text message should come in as evidence against Hernandez because he murdered Lloyd to prevent him from disclosing what he knew about the 2012 murders.

    The problem is that the Court: (1) found that the Commonwealth did not have enough evidence establishing that Lloyd knew about the 2012 murders; and (2) the reference to “NFL” was not enough to establish that Lloyd meant Hernandez.”

    Evidence is relevant if:
    (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and
    (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.

  13. Keep up the great coverage, Mike.

    I am not expecting any coverage from the personalities without substance ESPN Networks. They just seem to keep going over the same old territory with what they do cover.

    I remember the fantastic coverage you had with the Vick dog fighting investigation.

  14. The comment that common sense tells you why loyd send the text msg about NFL does not make sense to me. If he was so afraid of hernandez than why on earth why would he get into a car with him at 2am if he was in fear of his life? Wouldn’t you make an excuse and not get into a car with him? And if you were in fear of your life or was suspicious wouldnt you take someone else along with you so you would have some back up? Plus dont forget Loyd was hanging around with him all along, accepting a free rented SUV from Hernandez. Funny he didnt say no to that or say no to partying with Hernandez at nightclubs or at his condo. Maybe when you accept all these free things you dont bad mouth the person who is gifting all these free things to you would of helped him.

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