Seldom-Used Massachusetts Law May Posthumously Overturn Aaron Hernandez's Murder Conviction

Seldom-Used Massachusetts Law May Posthumously Overturn Aaron Hernandez's Murder Conviction

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Seldom-Used Massachusetts Law May Posthumously Overturn Aaron Hernandez's Murder Conviction

Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in his prison cell last week, may posthumously have his conviction overturned for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. This is thanks to a Massachusetts law that prescribes such a result when a convict dies before completing the appeals process.

His attorneys on Tuesday filed a motion to that end.

From the Washington Post:

In its filing, Hernandez’s defense team cited previous cases, including one in which this opinion emerged: “When a defendant dies while his conviction is on direct review, it is our practice to vacate the judgment and remand the case with a direction to dismiss the complaint or indictment, thus abating the entire prosecution.”

Basically what this means is, the case for which Hernandez was serving a life sentence has not actually been completed, and since the defendant is dead, it can’t be. The process is known as, “abatement ab initio,” and it has been used a couple times in Massachusetts over the last couple decades.

The district attorney in Bristol, Conn., which prosecuted the case, will formally oppose the motion.

Either way, the civil suit filed by Lloyd’s mother will be unaffected.

Hernandez was found hanging in his cell last week, dead from an apparent suicide. He had recently been acquitted on two other murder charges. He was 27.

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