I’m wondering about how Judge E. Susan Garsh’s suppression of the information that was contained on the telephone and Ipads seized from the home of Aaron Hernandez will affect the prosecution’s case. Is any of it crucial to the proof of his guilt? Is it just corroborative of other evidence? Or, is it of no importance, and if the latter, why did the DA want to put it into evidence.
I assume it is either of the first two: crucial or corroborative. The Bristol DA now has to make a decision whether to appeal her ruling. If the judge was wrong in her decision and the DA takes Hernandez to trial and loses, her mistake will never be remedied. A person can only be tried once if acquitted in almost all cases. (You may recall FBI agent John Connolly was tried twice.)
Any legal errors made before or during the trial disappear once a person is found not guilty. So the time is now, before the trial starts, for a prosecutor to appeal a judge’s decision keeping evidence out of the trial. Obviously if the evidence is crucial, I’d expect the DA to appeal. Or even if it is just corroborative, the DA should appeal. Juries sometimes need the additional corroboration to push them to a conclusion.
I’m reviewing Judge’s Garsh’s findings and will give my opinion on them soon. I’ve been trying to find out something about her. I heard she was quite pro-defendant.
Then I read about defense lawyers extolling her for her fairness. One suggested that she was “very reasonable to deal with it. . . . She’s very objective. . . . She plays it right down the middle.” If you know anything about the way the system functions, for defense lawyers to praise a judge so highly usually indicates she’s sitting in their corner.
When the DA heard she was appointed to the Hernandez case he refused to comment. It seems that the prosecutor who is trying the Hernandez case for the DA’s office, First Assistant District Attorney William McCauley, and Judge Garsh aren’t exactly bosom buddies. In 2010 he tried a murder case in front of her where he convicted the defendant.
Here’s what is reported about that case: “After the three-week trial — which featured more than 80 witnesses — McCauley told the New Bedford Standard-Times that Garsh issued unfair rulings on evidence, which McCauley added, “was repeatedly limited or excluded by a trial judge who exhibited antagonism to the commonwealth’s case throughout the course of the trial.”
McCauley said Garsh appeared to have had no background in a murder trial like Duarte’s, and added that the district attorney’s office expected “more from the witnesses and judges who hear these most serious cases.”
I don’t know about you but it seems quite odd to me for a high profile case like the Hernandez case to be given to a judge who has had run ins with the DA’s office on prior occasions. Barbara J. Rouse the Chief Justice can pick from 79 judges and she picks the one with a history of animosity with the DA. That doesn’t sound like she’s using the best of judgment in making that pick. You have to wonder what’s behind it?
ADA McCauley said Judge Garsh had no background to be handling murder trials. It’s highly unusual for an ADA to go after a judge like that. I checked to see her credentials.
She was born in 1947 making her rushing into her late 60s. As you know the people of Massachusetts passed an amendment to the constitution that requires judges to retire at 70-years-of age. (How the judges ignored the Constitution and continue to sit, some into their 90s, is a story for another day.)
22 years after being born she graduated from Barnard College in New York City. Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college which has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. She went from there to Harvard Law School from which she graduated in 1973. She clerked for a year with Judge Levin Campbell, a 1951 Harvard Law School graduate.
From there she went to the white shoe law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould where she stayed from 1975 to 1993. That’s the type of firm that shies away from criminal work. She then became a judge. She’s led a sheltered life with little or no experience in criminal work. I’m beginning to get the ADA’s point.
An internet site called Judgepedia which gave me her background has a section called: “Notable Cases.” In her 21 plus years on the bench only one case is listed. It is the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.
Garsh can look into the offing and see the end of her judge’s trail looming on the horizon. Is this a case where a judge wanted to go out with one notable case on her record so she lobbied to get this one? Did the confederacy of judges require Chief Judge Rouse to give this to her despite her ongoing feud with the DA?
Garsh’s decision suppressing evidence may indicate a continuing animus to the DA. Maybe not, but the unusual way in which she has been assigned the case can make one wonder what’s up. It makes one feel uncomfortable about the case.
It’s hard enough to prosecute a case when the ring is level. But when you come into it and see that the judge and defense lawyers are wearing the same colors and in the same corner, you know you’re entering into a meat grinder.
This is too big of a case to have these problems. With the nation watching, I’d have thought everything would have been done to make it appear that both sides would be treated fairly. Right now that does not appear to be the situation.