The reports from the courtroom of the trial of Aaron Hernandez where the evidence has concluded and the jury has been deliberating since last Tuesday is that when the jurors are not in the room Hernandez is in an upbeat mood, smiling and rather enjoying himself. I would guess that he feels the jury’s delay in coming down with a verdict augurs good news especially after he heard the questions the jury asked the judge on the second and third day of deliberations.
These related to the date of the charge of possession of ammunition and one involving “constructive possession,” that is, if one of the guys with Hernandez had the gun could Hernandez still be charged with its possession. The judge rightly defined the law regarding it telling the jury it boils down to whether he controlled its use.
One of Hernandez’s attorneys goal was to get the gun, a .45 caliber Glock, out of Hernandez’s hands. That question may have indicated that they had succeeded in doing that at least in the mind of one juror. At that point on Thursday you’d have to believe things in the jury room were going Hernandez’s way . His actions showed he and his attorneys felt that. I did read that the prosecutors were looked decidedly unhappy. I would guess that is how I would have looked were I prosecuting the case.
I originally thought this meant the jury decided to talk about the minor charges first before getting to the issue of the murder. The alternative, it had already decided the murder seemed unlikely. This became clearer after the question was answered on Thursday. For the rest of that day and the following day (which the jurors only deliberated until 1:00 pm) nothing was heard from the jury. It now seems nothing has been decided.
The jury may have started out with the murder. I’d guess one or two jurors suggested that Hernandez did not do the shooting. The judge’s charge must have included the term “constructive possession” (can’t figure out why) which confused them. So before they went on they had to figure out what that meant. The judge’s charge was an hour and 21 minutes which seems a bit too long in a one defendant case.
The issue is not that complicated. This is a simple case that has been made overly complex by all of the parties. Someone should have told the prosecutor about his witnesses, like the Emperor Joseph told Amadeus with respect to the notes in the Marriage of Figaro, that there are too many. He could have used 60 rather than the 131 and even that may have been too many.
Unfortunately in celebrity cases everyone forgets the usual way of doing business. Everyone wants to put on a big show. But that is water under the damn at this point. The question now is what will the jury do.
It has 439 exhibits and all those witnesses. Some suggest the delay is because of this. The foreperson on the jury is juror #5, a white middle-age woman with brown hair. The judge told the jurors not to take a vote at the outset of their deliberations which really is not something she should be doing. That is up to the jurors how they will deliberate. If all agreed he was guilty, why would they then deliberate?
I prosecuted a conspiracy to murder case against two defendants represented by competent counsel where the jury was out a few days. I couldn’t read the jury whenever they came into the court to be sent off for the day or to be dismissed at the end of the day. It makes me wonder about my abilities when I think back on the case because during the trial I would have sworn I had one particular juror who I considered “my guy” in my corner. While the jury deliberated I consoled myself thinking that he was the one holding out for me.
Finally after an interminable wait, the jury announced it had its verdict. Defense counsel were expecting victory because of the time it took. The jurors came in through the back door to the right of the judge’s bench to present their verdict. I looked at “my guy” to see if I could get an early read on the verdict. He was looking beyond me back at the table where the defendants were seated. I saw him shake his head in a negative manner.
The jury found the defendants guilty. I’d later learn that “my guy” had been the only holdout from the first vote which was 11 – 1 for conviction. He finally threw in the towel after those several days. I’d also learn a couple of weeks after the verdict that he was a friend of one of the defendants.
That’s a long way of telling you I have no idea what is going on in the jury room. Neither does anyone else who isn’t in there. The odds of a conviction are the same now as they were when the jury first got the case. It will be interesting to learn later what happened.