It is routine that people who have been charged with a crime give relevant evidence to their attorneys so that they can obtain legal advice regarding that evidence. After all, without being able to take possession of such items, attorneys would have a difficult time advising clients their cases.
This was what happened when disgraced former Patriot’s star, Aaron Hernandez, gave a cellphone to his attorneys. Since then, a judge has decided that there is probable cause to believe that the data on the cellphone would provide evidence about a July 16, 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End that killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, and about the intimidation of a witness to that shooting. Hernandez has been indicated for the drive-by shooting, has been indicted for intimidating the witness by shooting him in the head (the witness lived), and has been convicted of the June 17, 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
Ever since March, 2014, the government has been trying to get its hands of the phone. It first attempted to get the phone by asking a judge to approve a subpoena for the phone. That attempt failed when, in January, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) concluded that the attorney-client privilege protected the defendant against the use of a subpoena to compel production of the cellphone.