In a decision that could impact Aaron Harnandez’s upcoming murder trial in February, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that his lawyers can be compelled to provide his phone to the Commonwealth pursuant to an anticipatory search warrant.
Interpreting the statute governing search warrants General Laws 276 Section 1, the SJC noted that the statute did not intend to shield from disclosure anything that a criminal defendant provides to a lawyer in all cases.
The Court noted that none of the parties made any claim that there was privileged communications on the cell phone. The judge found probable cause to believe that the cell phone would obtain evidence of criminal activity. The Court found without the search warrant issuing that the content of the phone could be lost or destroyed.
The SJC allowed the Commonwealth’s motion for the anticipatory warrant meaning that the Commonwealth will have access to the cell phone.
The text messages could be a key part of the trial as it is believed that they may reveal a motivate for Hernandez shooting Bradley as he knew about the 2012 murder in Suffolk Country which is scheduled for trial in February.
While the judge set the trial date as a firm trial date, this new evidence could require the judge to continue the trial to allow the defense team to prepare in response to this newly received evidence.
Though the prosecutor will have access to the text messages, assuming they are incriminatory the next battle in the case is whether those text messages are admissible at trial, an issue that would be litigated prior to trial as part of a motion in limine.
To read more about this case you can visit and Article by Adam Vaccaro Boston.com.