Jurors had found him guilty for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
The murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez, shown in 2012, has been reinstated by the highest court in MA. He was serving a life sentence without parole when officials say he hanged himself in his cell in the state's maximum security facility in April 2017, days after his acquittal in a different double-murder trial. His lawyers then filed for abatement ab initio to vacate the conviction because he died during the appeal. The law states that someone who dies before the appeal process is allowed to have their record expunged.
Instead, the court said that when a defendant dies during an appeal, the appeal will be dismissed and noted in the court record, and the conviction will stand.
"We conclude that the doctrine of abatement ab initio is outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was", Justice Elspeth Cypher wrote.
This new ruling will now set a legal precedent, meaning any future cases will be dealt with the same way Hernandez is being treated now.More news: Dick’s Sporting Goods Will Remove Guns from 125 Stores Amid Declining Sales
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Lawyer John Thompson, who said he was representing "the spirit of Aaron Hernandez", said this would be unfair as the defendant - a critical part of any case - is dead, and can not provide context or help to attorneys to properly appeal his case.
John Salvi was convicted of murder in 1996 for opening fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, but his conviction was vacated when he committed suicide in prison before his appeal was heard.
Prosecutors argued that the legal principle was unfair to victims and outdated.
"The current practice. does not consider the interest of the other parties who have an interest in the outcome, ' Quinn told the Boston Globe at the time". Some states, like MA, toss the convictions, while others dismiss the defendant's appeal and the conviction stands.
Hernandez's attorney had previously argued the legal doctrine should remain intact, saying juries make mistakes.
Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots smiles from the sidelines ...