Judge denies prosecution request for Aaron Hernandez jail phone calls

FALL RIVER — A Bristol Superior Court judge has denied a motion by prosecutors seeking recordings of phone calls made from jail by Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who is charged with murder.

Judge Susan Garsh said the request needed to be supported by an affidavit, but the document filed by prosecutors was not an affidavit.

“The Comonwealth’s motion is not supported by any affidavit,” she said, noting that the document filed was not signed under the pains and penalties of perjury or notarized.

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She said she was denying the prosecutors’ motion without prejudice, meaning they could return to her court with the same request, if they do it properly.

She also cautioned them that under the law, their request for a subpoena for the recordings required them to show that they believed based on “reliable hearsay” that the recordings contained material that would address an issue relevant to the case.

She warned the prosecutors that she needed more detail to determine the reliability of the hearsay that led the prosecutors to believe that there was relevant information on the recordings.

The original filing by the prosecutors said the Bristol County sheriff’s office had provided prosecutors with the “contents of some of the defendant’s telephone conversations.”

Garsh said she wanted to know more about the “layers” of people there were from the person who listened to the recordings to the person who reported its contents to the prosecutors. She said that would help her determine whether the hearsay was reliable — and the prosecution request could be granted.

Prosecutor William McCauley disclosed that prosecutors had already obtained some of the recordings of the jail calls but wanted to get them subpoenaed to “honor a protocol” set by the sheriff’s office. Garsh ordered him to turn over the recordings already in the prosecution’s possession to the defense by Monday.

Defense attorney James Sultan had argued that the motion was “grossly overbroad.” He said the prosecutors and the prosecutors had a “rather bizarre partnership” with the sheriff’s office, which was “acting as an agent, an arm of the prosecution.”

Hernandez mouthed the words, “I love you,” to family members after he was brought into court.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in connection with the execution-style slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester.

Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found near Hernandez’s sprawling North Attleborough home on June 17. Hernandez is being held without bail.

Also today, Sultan said defense lawyers are seeking any notes taken by investigators out of state, including notes of a June interview with a man identified in court papers as Oscar Hernandez in Belle Glade, Fla.

It was not immediately clear if Oscar and Aaron Hernandez are related. McCauley said in court that Oscar had spoken with an unspecified “national agency” in Florida, and prosecutors are attempting to get any relevant materials from the agency to turn over to the defense.

Lloyd’s family, including his mother, Ursula Ward, attended the hearing, as did members of Hernandez’s family. Ward kept her gaze fixed on Hernandez for much of the hearing, and shook her head when lawyers discussed the actual shooting of Lloyd. Neither family had any comment outside court.