Tag Archives: boston

Aaron Hernandez Jury is Deliberating

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

The jury is out in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez for the killing of Odin Lloyd. During closing arguments, his attorney conceded he was present at the killing, but argues there is not proof that he took part. There are 2 charged co-defendants, who are still awaiting trial: neither testified against Hernandez.

A note for fellow media outlets covering the courts, do not approach the jury! A TV crew at this trial in Massachusetts nearly caused a mistrial.

The Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial is Underway

A jury has been selected in the murder trial of former NE Patriot and Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez. CNN has a live feed: http://www.cnn.com/specials/live-video-2

BU Law Building Made the 50 Most-Impressive List

BU Law Tower and Expansion

BU Law Tower and Expansion

Lots of cool photos on the link. My alma mater, Boston University (BULaw) made the list. We would not have made it if this was a list of the prettiest buildings. The BU Law tower is a prime example of the Brutalist Architecture, categorized by bare, angular concrete. The Boston City Hall (below) is another, well-known example.  It’s undergoing a major renovation, but the tower will remain, the new construction is essentially adjacent to the tower (the caption is a rendering of the “new” building). It’s worth checking out the other most impressive law buildings.

http://www.bestchoiceschools.com/50-most-impressive-law-school-buildings-in-the-world/ via http://abovethelaw.com/2014/08/ranking-the-most-impressive-law-school-buildings/

Boston City Hall

Aaron Hernandez Indicted for Earlier Double Murder

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

Former Patriot Aaron Hernandez has additional murder charges stemming from a drive-by shooting in 2012. One of the survivors of the drive-by has identified Hernandez as the shooter: it’s a little odd that he only recognized him after he was arrested for the later murder, but there is some damning circumstantial evidence compounding the case. The new allegations mean Hernandez may have played a season of football after killing two people in a drive-by.

The new charges may help the Patriots in the salary dispute with Hernandez, as Miguel Benzan pointed out in the Patsfans.com post we referenced yesterday, that means there is a prior existing circumstance that will prevent his availability, meaning the Patriots may be able to go after his signing bonus on his contract extension. Of course, the team needs to get in line, the families of the 2012 victims have already filed wrongful death actions. Hernandez may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Whitey Bulger Witness Was Poisoned

Stephen Rakes, one of potential witnesses listed in the Whitey Bulger prosecution, died during the course of Bulger’s trial. It was reported that he was not going to be called as a witness in Bulger’s case, which apparently had disappointed Mr. Rakes a great deal. It appears the poisoning was not at the direction of Mr. Bulger, as one of Mr. Rakes’ business associates has been charged with poisoning his iced coffee. The medical examiner ruled this week that cyanide poison is the cause of death.

Grievance Filed for Aaron Hernandez Salary

The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance for several million dollars on behalf of Aaron Hernandez for money he is owed. This was expected, due to certain guarantees in his contract. I’m curious how much money the team will spend to fight giving away money they contractually are obligated to pay. It will probably resolve by negotiation, which makes the most financial sense for both parties, and could avoid further negative media coverage for the Patriots.

Patriots May Still Have to Pay Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was indicted on first degree murder charges by a grand jury, yesterday. Formerly a member of the New England Patriots, he was cut by the team shortly after his arrest several weeks ago. Ironically, the team may have to pay him more due to their haste in releasing him. They still owe him several million dollars as part of his signing bonus. Certainly the Pats will fight those payments, but they could end up writing checks to his inmate account.
The irony is that if the Patriots had left him on the roster, they would be more likely to recoup that money. Hernandez, who is likely to remain incarcerated, would be in breach and not able to receive those bonuses. The Patriots have already refused to pay an $82,000 workout bonus, and the union plans to file a grievance.
I am fortunate the I was able to cut him from my fantasy football keeper league team without any penalty!

Whitey Bulger Guilty on Most Counts

James “Whitey”Bulger has been found guilty of most of the charges against him, including racketeering and many of the underlying murder and extortion charges. No word on whether the jury believed he was “snitchin’“.


James “Whitey” Bulger’s Trial Is Underway in Boston

James "Whitey" Bulger

James “Whitey” Bulger

Alleged crime boss Whitey Bulger, who spent 16 years hiding out to avoid his criminal charges, is currently on trial in Boston. He’s facing 32 counts, including 19 murders that he was allegedly involved in. Bulger was the alleged boss of the Winter Hill Gang, but was also allegedly an informant for the FBI, who in turn tipped him off about searches, raids, and even his own indictment (again- allegedly). His double dealing lent inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Departed”. However, it appears his defense attorney will argue that he was not, in fact an informant. There had been some suggestion that he might claim immunity as a defense, based on the supposed promise for cooperation from the former prosecutor. His spent more than a decade atop the FBI’s most wanted list, until he was finally tracked down in California last year, thanks to a tip.

Jury selection is complete, and the trial is expected to take several months. Several of his former gang members are lined up to testify against him as government witnesses. It’s the biggest mob trial since John Gotti. Boston.com has had excellent coverage of the case.

Our coverage: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/?s=whitey

Did Authorities Violate Alleged Boston Bomber’s Rights by Not Reading Miranda Rights

When the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokar Tsarnev, was being sought, debate was roiling over whether or not authorities should read him his Miranda Warnings prior to questioning him, and whether he should be classified as an enemy combatant. The second argument did not go very far, as Mr. Tsarnev is a U.S. citizen, and is afforded the same rights as all citizens under the constitution, including due process and the right to an attorney. The more heated debate centered on whether he should be read Miranda.

The Justice Department stated their intention to not advise Mr. Tsarnev of his Miranda rights, saying that their questioning would be allowed under the public safety exception. All indications are that Mr. Tsarnev was not advised at the initiation of his interrogation, and that he has been communicating with law enforcement. The failure to read Miranda does not mean that authorities could not question him, but typically any statements obtained from such a custodial interrogation could not be used against him in court. Such statements were not admissible under the Miranda ruling by the Supreme Court, until they carved out the public safety exception in a case known as New York v. Quarles. The Quarles decision in 1984 drew a very narrow exception for questions in the interest of public safety. In that case, Mr. Quarles had been detained after ditching a firearm, and the officer asked a few questions about the whereabouts of the gun prior to reading Mr. Quarles his Miranda. The court found that under those facts, an exception was proper, and the state could use those statements in the prosecution of the case against him.

The FBI latched onto the idea of the public safety exception, and spent some time reviewing and planning when they felt they might be able to use it to avoid the reading of Miranda. They produced an internal memo in 2010 outlining which circumstances they could cite the exception to avoid the Miranda reading. The New York Times obtained a copy of that memo and published it in 2011. This presents several logistical problems, as well as a concern that the FBI has made a concerted effort to deny detainees their Constitutional rights.

The public safety exception, as outlined by Quarles, is limited to a very narrow set of facts and circumstances. Justice Rehnquist specifically discussed  that there was an element of spontaneity involved when suspects are arrested in the field as Mr. Quarles was. That does not appear to fit the facts of Mr. Tsarnev’s situation. Rehnquist contrasts those questions in the field to the inherently coercive nature of interrogation in the confines of a police station house. There is a danger for the government that there was a coercive nature to Mr. Tsarnev’s custodial interrogation in the hospital, where he was undoubtedly tied down and confronted by multiple trained interrogators who had time to formulate their questions. The FBI memo attempts to broaden the scope of the public safety exception, but such internal memos carry no force of law. It’s possible that interrogators’ reliance on the FBI’s interpretation of the exception could taint Tsarnev’s statement; and a judge might refuse to admit those statements. This may not be a major issue in Tsarnev’s case, as the government may feel they have enough evidence against him without needing to rely on his statements. They certainly will be challenged by the Defense if the case ends up going to trial, as the facts of Mr. Tsarnev’s interrogation do not fit the facts of Quarles and its narrow exception.

It is possible the court could further expand the public safety exception. The Quarles language is very limited and fact specific, but it is easy to imagine situations where such an exception would be appropriate. Imagine a scenario where terrorists are planning to detonate a nuclear weapon in the United States, and are on the verge of doing so (a Jack Bauer situation). What if agents were able to capture a conspirator who had information about how to stop the imminent attack: would we want them to advise the terrorist he didn’t have to talk to them? In such a hypothetical, the public interest would be better served by allowing the interrogation to proceed, unadvised. The public interest would favor the greater good of seeking information to protect more people from harm, and could still be a limited enough public safety exception to warrant abuse from overly broad interrogations. I recognize the slippery-slope concern of further abrogating Miranda, but it might be appropriate under limited factual circumstances. As it is, the government has rarely attempted to claim the public safety exception, so there is not a great body of law on the subject. It will be interesting to see how it develops.