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Hernandez appeared to have taken great pains to ensure his own death, jamming cardboard into the tracks of his cell's sliding door and spreading a slick of shampoo on the concrete floor so he couldn't be rescued quickly.Though not known to be a religious man, he had written on his forehead in ink and left a Bible open to the third chapter of John, marking the famous verse with a spot of blood.Baez had grown up poor and Puerto Rican in Miami, and by the time he agreed to defend Anthony, he had been a member of the Florida bar for less than three years.He worked out of a suite of offices next to the jail in the small town of Kissimmee, near Orlando, where he was one of the only Latino lawyers in town.(The Maryland man was never charged with a crime, charges against the preteen were dropped, and the young man was found not guilty.) In part, this is because Baez knows that our adversarial legal system depends on zealous advocacy.But his concern for his clients cannot fully be explained by abstractions about the American system of justice.
Against all expectations, he had secured an acquittal for Aaron Hernandez, the twenty- seven-year-old former NFL star who'd been charged with murdering two men in 2012 and shooting a third, a friend of his who had allegedly witnessed the double murder. His head throbbed from the previous night's caipirinhas, his back ached from an inflamed sciatic nerve, and his cell phone was screaming like the dawn chorus. Baez, who lives on the thirty-fifth floor of a luxury residential tower, is a forty-eight-year-old criminal- defense attorney with a made-for-TV client roster that has earned him comparisons to Johnnie Cochran.He knew what it meant when he saw that the texts and calls lighting up his phone were from the 212 area code: The national media was calling.It's the jury who makes their decision." Baez first came to national attention in 2008, when an unexpected referral put him in touch with Casey Anthony, a young woman whose little girl, Caylee, went missing in Orlando, Florida.Anthony failed to alert the authorities about her daughter's disappearance for thirty days, and later concocted a bizarre fiction that involved an imaginary nanny.