It is as if you watched the Super Bowl last February and then the local Massachusetts Superior Court judge said she would hold a hearing on who won the Super Bowl. If you lived outside Massachusetts you would scratch your head and say what’s the point. If you lived in Massachusetts you’d know the courtroom would be full of media people and the proceedings would be telecast live. The judge would come after the screen went up with a fancy scarf and sit down after the court officer announced her presence and the lawyers would argue the matter for an hour or so. The whole group strutting and pruning themselves under the sun of the gullible public.
At one time when I worked in a Superior Court when a person who had been convicted died before his appeal was out his lawyer would send a motion to the court asking the conviction be set aside. I would take it into the judge in the first session of the court and hand him the motion with the supporting documents. He would write on it “allowed.” That is what would normally happen. No hearing was necessary since the outcome is predetermined. The law is, as it should be, that a conviction cannot stand until a person exhausts all his appeals. It is based on a simple legal proposition that a matter must be, excuse the pun, alive when the appeals court hears it. Or, to put it another way, why waste the appeals court’s time, even though they have plenty of it, when the court’s decision may not be enforced.
Put more simply in the Hernandez matter if the court found sufficient legal error to warrant him a new trial what would then happen. This isn’t Russia or North Korea yet where we put dead men on trial. It is a long American tradition that a person must be alive to be brought to trial. I suppose at some day in Massachusetts we will have a judge entertaining a motion by some district attorney who seeking publicity will want to try a dead person but we have not arrived there yet.
If Hernandez’s conviction is vacated as it must be and without any show boat hearing what is the effect of it? It simply means Hernandez was not found guilty of the murder of Odin Llyod and that he does not have to do anymore time in prison. It does not mean he did not murder Odin Llyod. Look at it this way. If Hernandez and Llyod were alone that night outside Patriot Stadium and got into an argument in front of the Patriot’s staff members and Hernandez took out a gun and murdered Llyod and then feeling remorse put the gun to his head and killed himself would you say that Hernandez did not murder Llyod. Would you have to have a trial to show that? Obviously not. Every so often we read about murder/suicides. We do not then indict and try to murderer.
What is routine and must happen because the law in its wisdom requires it has been turned into a circus by a judge who should know better. The big question is why. Don’t these folks have better things to do?
Then there’s the media. A Boston Globe editorial wants more information about Hernandez from the public officials. The reason why is that some involved in writing the editorial have been listening to talk radio and are concerned at all the nutty theories being bandied about. Talk about wasting time!
Of course much of this can be traced back to Smiley Charlie Baker’s brilliant observation: “Any time anybody kills themselves in a prison, something clearly went wrong,” I wonder if he figured that out himself. Maybe someone could enlighten him that “Any time anybody kills themselves something clearly went wrong,”
I suggest we know all we should know about the Hernandez affair. It’s over. There will be no appeal for justice on this earth for him. It’s case closed. Time for him, his lawyers and judges to go off into the sunset. Let’s turn our attention to things that really matter in the life of Bostonians like the Red Sox.