Legal Expert: DA's Move in Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial 'Extraordinary'

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 07:13 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The move by Massachusetts prosecutors to remove the judge in the murder trial of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez is highly unusual, according to attorney and legal analyst Kendell Coffey.

"It's extraordinary for prosecutors to seek to disqualify a judge," Coffey told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV."

Story continues below video.

"Those kinds of motions happen all the time by defense lawyers who feel they have to cover themselves and file a lot of different motions or else get accused of ineffective assistance to the counsel."

At a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said they want Judge Susan Garsh to recuse herself, but did not say why.

But a court filing obtained by The Associated Press stated there is a "well-known and publicly documented history of antagonism" between Garsh and Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley.

The Fall River Herald News reports that the antagonism stems from a 2010 murder trial during which McCauley believed Garsh had made rulings on evidence that stifled the prosecution.

"But it's hard to think that there wasn't a series of concerns, so I'm not going to make a prediction on this one and just sort of note that it's very rare for prosecutors to make these kind of motions and just because of that reality, it's something that has to be taken seriously."

The motion to recuse Garsh will be heard on Oct. 21.

Hernandez was indicted in the June shooting death of Odin Lloyd, 27, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.

He pleaded not guilty to murder and five weapons-related charges and is being held without bail.

Hernandez, a tight end, played with the Patriots from 2010 to 2012.

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