Questions are arising over a new development in the case of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriot who is being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder. On Tuesday, July 2, Hernandez announced that he wants to tie the knot with his fiancée of eight months, Shayanna Jenkins. The sheriff of Bristol County (Mass.) said he will attempt to block the nuptials as long as the former NFL tight end is a guest in his jail.
According to USA Today, Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told reporters, “I don’t subscribe to” Hernandez’s right to marry. “I feel that those rights are things that you access on the outside, if you’re a good citizen. We’ll do everything we can to not have that happen.”
Interesting. Why would a law enforcement officer object to a prisoner’s engaging in holy matrimony? And under what statute is he empowered to prevent the man from marrying the mother of his 7-month-old daughter?
On the other side of the coin, the questions include why Hernandez is eager to marry Jenkins at this particular point in time? Doesn’t he already have quite a bit on his plate?
Perhaps the answer lies in the law known as spousal privilege. That is, if the couple were married, Jenkins could be shielded from testifying against Hernandez at trial. Call it coincidence, but Jenkins had begun speaking with investigators until receiving a phone call from Hernandez telling her mum’s the word, whereupon she clammed up.
Hernandez’s defense team has been arguing since the outset that their client needed to be treated like any other defendant despite his status as a football celebrity. In spite of that argument, he is being held in isolation in a 7-by-10-square-foot cell, where he has no opportunity for contact with other inmates.
The judge in the case has yet to rule on the sheriff’s attempts at preventing Hernandez from marrying.
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