The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively reinstated Aaron Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction Wednesday morning.
Hernandez was convicted of killing Odin Lloyd in 2015, but the conviction was vacated last year following Hernandez’s death. A common-law doctrine in the state called “abatement ab initio” allowed for convictions to be dismissed if the defendant dies during the appeals process.
However, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday that the doctrine is “outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was.”
“The proper course is to dismiss the appeal as moot and note in the trial court record that the conviction removed the defendant’s presumption of innocence, but that the conviction was appealed and neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died,” associate justice Elspeth Cypher wrote in the opinion.
“We conclude that this approach, which otherwise applies only prospectively, should apply in the present case.”
Hernandez starred at the University of Florida before spending three seasons with the New England Patriots. The former tight end died in prison in April 2017, and his death was subsequently ruled a suicide.
Source: USA Today Sports Tom Schad
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Photo Credit: Deadspin