An arrest warrant has been issued for the New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez, according to media reports. The football star has been in the headlines all week, as authorities investigate the shooting death of his friend Odin Lloyd, whose body was found close to the tight end's home.
Hernandez's arrest warrant, however, apparently does not accuse the NFL star of murder. Rather, the warrant is being issued for obstruction of justice, according to Boston's WBZ NewsRadio.
What does the warrant reportedly allege?
Alleged Obstruction of Justice
Aaron Hernandez's arrest warrant for obstruction of justice is based on a number of acts. These include his alleged hiring of a professional cleaning service to scrub his house, that he smashed his home security system, and that his cell phone was handed over to investigators in pieces, according to ABC News.
Obstruction of justice generally refers to the crime of interfering with the work of government officials (usually police, prosecutors, or investigators). Some common examples of committing an obstruction of justice are when a witness is bribed or a judge is threatened.
Charges are laid out generally when a person, through words or actions, attempts to skew the case or investigation. Thus, when Hernandez allegedly destroyed his home security system, which included video surveillance, and appeared to have intentionally crushed his phone as well, this was seen as destroying physical evidence. Not only does it appear highly suspect, but can also be cause for an arrest.
'Common Law' Obstruction
Obstruction of justice laws vary by state. Massachusetts, in particular, has recognized the common law crime of obstruction of justice. What does this mean?
Usually, laws are either common law or civil law. Common law generally is also known as precedent, or case law. It's law that's developed through cases over the years by the judges who make those decisions. Civil law, on the other hand, is based on statutes that are adopted through the standard law-making process (legistation, regulations, etc).
It's not yet clear when or where Aaron Hernandez may be arrested on the warrant, WBZ reports.
- ABC: Hernandez warrant coming (ESPN)
- Obstruction of Justice (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Sued as Homicide Investigation Continues (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Barry Bonds Convicted: Guilty of Obstruction of Justice (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)