Bar-Study? The Aaron Hernandez Issue-Spotter Quiz

By Betty Wang, JD on July 10, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For those of you in the middle of studying for the bar, are you keeping up with the news? Of course you're not, and of course you shouldn't be -- the most important test of your life (arguably) is just around the corner, and you should obviously be focused on studying for the bar.

But, here's the good news -- you don't have to be wasting any precious time and energy just to keep yourself informed of what else is going on out there.

With that said, remember that it's okay to take the time out to read the paper or scour the Internet on a study break, if you need one. But, if you're hesitant about doing that this month, remember that there's a legal lesson behind most, if not all, news stories out there, and with those legal lessons are valuable nuggets of information that will be relevant to the bar.

Take Aaron Hernandez's current spot in the news, for example.

Aaron Hernandez: Crim Law and Evidence

Former New England Patriots' player Aaron Hernandez is the leading suspect in a case involving the death of the man named Odin Lloyd. He's already been charged with first degree murder, which, as your many Crim flashcards should tell you, is what? That's right. A killing that is willful and premeditated. In other words, the alleged killer planned it ahead of time, was lying in wait, or forcefully committed the act. (Insert analysis here). All killings that don't qualify as first degree are second degree.

While Hernandez's case won't likely pan out before you take the bar exam in a few weeks, let's draw an Evidence hypothetical -- what possible events might be raised during trial by prosecution?

Because, Hernandez does have somewhat of a splotchy criminal history, can this be seen as a propensity to act a certain way or commit a certain act? While it may or may not be inadmissible character evidence, remember that this depends on a number of things.

For example, if any of them are habits or custom, they'll likely be admissible. (Insert more analysis here). Don't forget that while character evidence is generally inadmissible, it is permitted to show other purposes. Such as, proof of intent, preparation, opportunity, or absence of mistake. (Even more analysis).

But, there's even more in this real-life hypo with the former NFL tight-end. Here's another Evidence refresher: Hernandez is engaged. Prosecutors are apparently doing everything in their power to prevent him from marrying his high school sweetheart and the mother of his 7-month-old daughter while he's awaiting trial. Why? Ding, ding, ding: spousal privilege.

As you will recall, this is an evidentiary privilege that allows the spouse of the suspect to refuse to testify. The privilege only lasts as long as the marriage does, and can only be invoked while married. (Insert analysis, some more).


P.S. Kill it on the exam! Good luck, everyone.

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