NFL star Aaron Hernandez is not only a potential player in a homicide investigation, but he's also being sued in civil court in an unrelated matter. A lawsuit accuses the New England Patriots tight end of shooting a man in February, ESPN reports.
Alexander Bradley claims that after he argued with Hernandez at a Miami strip club, Hernandez shot him in a car. The bullet traveled from Bradley's arm to his face, the lawsuit asserts.
This only adds to Hernandez's legal troubles, as he is currently under investigation for the death of a friend, Odin Lloyd, who was found shot to death earlier this week, about a mile from Hernandez's house. Search warrants were executed for Hernandez's home and three rental cars that he leased.
The Civil Lawsuit
According to Bradley's lawyer, his client's lawsuit alleges personal injury. There are many potential defenses to personal injury -- one of the most common being self-defense.
If Hernandez did actually shoot Bradley in order to protect himself, or if Bradley had provoked him and escalated the fight to the point he needed to ward him off with a gun, then self-defense could possibly apply.
Personal injury lawsuits generally seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To be successful, Bradley's lawyer will have to offer proof of these damages in court.
Search Warrants Executed
A more immediate issue for Hernandez, however, may be the homicide investigation, for which investigators have executed search warrants.
The Fourth Amendment generally guarantees protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, though, any search based on a valid warrant is considered reasonable.
A valid warrant exists if it was based on probable cause and approved by a judge. Probable cause exists if a crime has occurred and evidence or contraband linked to that crime will likely be found in the location at issue. This is usually made on a showing based off the police's own observations, or the observations of others.
In this case, it is undisputed that Aaron Hernandez was with Odin Lloyd on the night of the shooting, that they have a pre-existing relationship, and that Lloyd's body was found so close to the Patriots star's home. All of this is likely more than ample to be considered probable cause.
- Aaron Hernandez Destroyed Home Security System and Phone, Sources Tell ABC News (ABC News)
- Search Warrant Requirements (FindLaw)
- Patriots' Owner Sued as 'Social Host' for 2 Tailgating Deaths (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- Can Police Search Door-to-Door Without Warrants? (FindLaw's Blotter)