This morning, ex NFL player Aaron Hernandez was convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd in the first degree and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After nearly a week of deliberations, the talking head experts on TV were getting very nervous and suspected that some juror was holding out. It was also repeated that the evidence against Hernandez was largely circumstantial. Well, circumstantial evidence is still evidence.
I didn't follow the case carefully enough to judge the evidence, but when I heard that the defense attorney conceded that Hernandez was at the murder scene, that seemed pretty damning to me. It doesn't matter that much which of the three persons present fired the shots. They were all complicit. (The other two defendants have yet to go to trial.)
What surprised me somewhat was the decision of the jurors to meet with the press on TV after the verdict. Judges routinely tell jurors after the case is decided that it is up to them whether to talk to the press. In my view, it is good practice not to, and today's event is an example.
First of all, I was put off by the light atmosphere especially the constant laughter of the young lady in the purple dress. This was not a cocktail party, and it was inappropriate. (Not that I sympathize with Hernandez, which I don't.) More seriously, a wrong comment by anyone of the jurors can instantly create grounds for an appeal. Thank God none of them answered affirmatively to the question as to whether they might have reached a different verdict had Hernandez testified in his own defense. They are strictly not allowed to consider that in their deliberations. One yes answer to that question, and that would have been an appellate issue-and likely a successful one.