Aaron Hernandez’s Murder Conviction Reinstated By Mass

Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction reinstated by Massachusetts’s highest court

Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction reinstated by Massachusetts’s highest court

Calling it 'outdated, ' the Supreme Judicial Court in MA has eliminated a state legal principle that wiped out the murder conviction of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez after his suicide.

The legal principle known by the Latin phrase "ab initio", came under scrutiny a year ago when Hernandez, a former New England Patriots star and convicted killer, was found dead in his prison cell.

The court reinstated Hernandez's first-degree 2015 murder conviction for the 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his former fiance's sister.

The 27-year-old former football star was found dead in his prison cell in April 2017, days after being acquitted of most charges in a separate double-murder case.

The high court's decision clears the way for the victim's family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez, who had a $41 million contract when he was arrested for Lloyd's killing, said Robert Bloom, a professor at Boston College Law School.

Under the new order, if a defendant passes before their appeal, the conviction stands without any affirmation or nullification. Just two years after being convicted, Hernandez died of suicide in his cell.

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Hernandez attorney John Thompson said the manner of death should not matter - when a person dies while his conviction is under direct appeal, the conviction should be vacated.

"We conclude that the doctrine of abatement ab initio is outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was".

"A defendant, who can cut off his own criminal appeal by suicide and stall civil litigation by a stay of proceedings. has the reins of the entire justice system in his own hands", prosecutors wrote.

Hernandez's attorney had previously argued the legal doctrine should remain intact, saying juries make mistakes.

Massachusetts' highest court began to consider Thursday whether to end the long-standing legal practice that "wipes out" a person's conviction if the defendant dies before all appeals are exhausted. Quinn told the court that the defendant's estate should be allowed to appeal the case, if they wish.

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