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Massachusetts Court Reinstates Aaron Hernandez' Murder Conviction

14 March 2019

Hernandez's first-degree murder conviction must be reinstated, the state's high court stated in a ruling released Wednesday.

Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell in 2017, days after being cleared of a separate 2012 double murder, leading a lower-court judge to toss his conviction under a longstanding state legal doctrine that vacated guilty sentences for people who died before they had exhausted the appeals process. A legal principle put the conviction in doubt, because Hernandez's appeal was unresolved at his time of death and he would be able to be present for the appeal.

Previously, under a legal principle known by the Latin phrase "ab initio", the Supreme Judicial Court had held a conviction should be removed from the record if the defendant died before his or her trial had been examined by an appeals court.

Hernandez's attorney had previously argued the legal doctrine should remain intact, saying juries make mistakes. Some, like MA, toss the convictions, while other states dismiss the defendant's appeal and the conviction stands. Other states allow appellate courts to consider a dead defendant's case, prosecutors say.

"We think the Court departed from its usual standards in coming to this decision and intend to seek reconsideration of that aspect of its decision that applies its newly minted law to Mr. Hernandez's case", he said in a statement."The Court has overlooked an essential point of fairness in applying its new rule to this case". Otherwise, the conviction should stand, he said.

Quinn wrote Wednesday that, thanks to the court's ruling, "justice is served".

The court record will note that the conviction was "neither affirmed nor reversed because the defendant died".

"This decision has helped the family to obtain closure from the disgusting loss of their beloved son Odin", Attorney Doug Sheff said in a statement.

John Salvi, who was convicted of killing two abortion clinic workers in Brookline in 1994, had that ruling overturned when he committed suicide in 1996.

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Massachusetts Court Reinstates Aaron Hernandez' Murder Conviction