Aaron Hernandez Case: Update On Prosecutors' Gag Order In Football Player's Murder Trial

Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez, former player for the NFL's New England Patriots football team, attends a pre-trial hearing at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., Oct. 9, 2013, in connection with the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in June. Reuters/Brian Snyder

On Mar. 18, Bristol Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh upheld a gag order in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. On Monday, a Supreme Judicial Court justice did the same.

Justice Fernande Duffly was asked to look at the order by prosecutors. However, the judge agreed with Garsh’s ruling.

“The Commonwealth has failed to establish that the extraordinary relief available [to the SJC] is appropriate,’’ wrote Duffly.

The prosecution has argued that the order would prevent the public from hearing information that they deserve to know. Still, Duffly doesn’t think the order will inhibit the court’s ability to try Hernandez effectively.

“The Commonwealth has shown nothing but speculative future harm should it or the defendant make, or determine there is a need to make, an extrajudicial statement concerning some as yet to be determined event.’’

The gag order was issued in mid-February, in order to ensure a fair trial for Hernandez. The 24-year-old played three seasons with the New England Patriots, and the case has received considerable media coverage. In October, Mike Pouncey of the Miami Dolphins was served with a subpoena at an NFL stadium, and the defense called it a publicity stunt. In prison, his celebrity status has forced him to be separated from the rest of the inmates.

The prosecution has had its issues with Garsh. Hernandez was arrested for the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd on June 26. In November, the prosecution attempted to have the Bristol Superior Court Judge removed from the case. District attorney William McCauley didn’t like the way Garsh handled a trial in 2010, but she remains on the Hernandez case.

Nine and a half months since Hernandez’s arrest, a trial date has yet to be set. The ex-football player is accused of first-degree murder. His alleged accomplices on the night of Lloyd’s death, Ernest Wallace and Carlo Ortiz, have been charged with being accessories to the crime. 

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