Aaron Hernandez Murder Conviction Reinstated By Court

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez speaks in the locker room at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Mass. Massachusetts highest court on Wednesday

The state Supreme Judicial Court also expunged the practice, calling it outdated.

But Wednesday's high court ruling called the longstanding legal principal "outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life, if, in fact, it ever was".

Overturning decades of legal precedent, Massachusetts' highest court ruled on Wednesday the late Aaron Hernandez's first-degree murder conviction must be reinstated.

Hernandez was found guilty in 2015 of the killing of Odin L. Lloyd but, two years later, the former New England Patriots tight end was found hanging from a bedsheet attached to a window in his cell. Two years later, the 27-year-old killed himself in his prison cell days after being acquitted of most charges in a separate double-murder case.

Rather, when a defendant dies irrespective of cause, while a direct appeal as of right challenging his conviction is pending, 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.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn II argued the defendant's estate should be allowed to appeal the case, if they wish.

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. "He said victims" relatives, jurors and the public have interest in such cases.

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

Under the new order, if a defendant passes before their appeal, the conviction stands without any affirmation or nullification. While prosecutors may be cheerful with today's victory over a dead man, were that fighter not ill, and still alive today, the sentiment would be that of concern; based on the evidence we had ready to present, reversal of his conviction was a near certainty. Due to a stipulation in the law, Hernandez' conviction was thrown out at the time.

The Patriots took Hernandez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

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