When I was leaving court Wednesday morning, I received an email from one of my editors, Josh Hill, asking me about a recent development in the Aaron Hernandez case. Perhaps disturbingly, my initial thought was, “Which one?”
In what might come as a shock to honest and law-abiding readers, Aaron Hernandez — the disgraced former Florida Gators and New England Patriots tight end — is currently the subject of at least five separate court cases.
I don’t mean to be flippant, but I must emphasize that I wrote “at least five” not because of a lack of research into Hernandez’s collective litigation, but instead because given his history, I cannot in good faith rule out other existing lawsuits that simply have not been reported yet.
By my count, Hernandez is currently engaged in two separate matters of criminal prosecution and three different civil suits.
The following is a list of these various court cases and their current statuses.
- The murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012. The Prosecution alleges that Aaron Hernandez murdered these men after feeling disrespected in a nightclub. Hernandez was arraigned on May 28—which effectively means that the Prosecution informed him of the charges against him and gave him an opportunity to enter a plea. Hernandez pleaded not guilty and is now awaiting trial behind bars.
- The murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013. The Prosecution alleges that Hernandez, Carlos Ortiz, and Ernest Wallace chauffeured Lloyd to an industrial park where he was then murdered. Hernandez has already pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial. Meanwhile, Ortiz was arraigned on May 28 and pleaded not guilty. Like Hernandez, Ortiz will continue to be held without bail until trial. Wallace was arraigned on March 15, and he too pleaded not guilty.
- The shooting of Alexander Bradley in 2013. Bradley alleges that Hernandez shot him in the face after an argument at Tootsie’s club in Miami, Florida. Bradley is seeking at least $100,000.00 for various surgeries, pains, and injuries stemming from the shooting. This litigation is presumably halted until Hernandez completes his murder defenses.
- The wrongful deaths of de Abreu and Furtado in 2012. In the broadest sense, a wrongful death claim allows for the families of a decedent to recover financially for the loss of a loved one. The families of de Abreu and Furtado have filed $6 million lawsuits against Hernandez, alleging that Hernandez shot a firearm recklessly and maliciously at de Abreu and Furtado—killing them both. It is important to note that this civil suit was actually filed before Hernandez was charged with the murders of de Abreu and Furtado. That said, this civil suit will presumably be tabled until after the aforementioned criminal prosecutions.
- The wrongful death of Odin Lloyd in 2013. The family of Lloyd alleges that Hernandez quite literally contributed to the wrongful death of Lloyd. Like the previously referenced civil cases, this lawsuit too will almost assuredly be put on hold until after the criminal prosecutions are decided.
While it is not uncommon for a major corporation to be involved in a multitude of different litigation, five separate court cases against one man are a lot of court cases.
That said, despite one’s natural proclivity to cast judgment given the overwhelming circumstances, it is important to remember that in the American justice system, just because someone is accused of something does not mean that the person actually did what she was accused of doing.
We, like Aaron Hernandez, should trust the courts to come to the right decisions.
I’ll leave you to debate about the subjectivity of what constitutes a “right decision” with regard to Hernandez.