Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Aaron Hernandez's First-Degree Murder Conviction Reinstated By Court

Aaron Hernandez Enlarge Image Aaron Hernandez AP
Shannon Reynolds | 13 March, 2019, 22:28

Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction was reinstated Wednesday by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court - almost two years after the ex-NFL star was found dead in his prison cell, sparking a lengthy legal battle as to the official status of his guilt. As part of an obscure doctrine called "abatement ab initio", Hernandez's guilty verdict was overturned because he died before he was able to conclude the appeals process.

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.

Lloyd played semi-pro football and Hernandez was convicted of his murder back in 2015. 'We are pleased justice is served in this case, the antiquated practice of vacating a valid conviction is being eliminated and the victim's family can get the closure they deserve'.

The state's Supreme Judicial Court declared outdated the legal principle, based in English canonical law, that deems a conviction final only if a lower-court finding has been considered by an appeals court. 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.

The judges said Tuesday that the Commonwealth's law automatically vacating the conviction because of Hernandez's suicide is "outdated". Some states, like MA, toss the convictions, while others dismiss the defendant's appeal and the conviction stands.

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In this case, however, Singer arranged for someone to take the test for the students, or paid insiders to fix their scores. On a call with a wealthy parent, prosecutors said, Mr Singer summed up his business.

There are a number of lawsuits relating to Hernandez's crimes and his death, so it's possible the SJC's ruling will have some further implications.

Abatement had generally been recognized in MA even in high-profile cases of suicide.

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.

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

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