Aaron HernandezFormer NFL star, Aaron Hernandez smiled at his adorable daughter after his acquittal on double murder charges and her smile back may have been just the motivation for the seemingly person with nothing left to lose, do the unthinkable. You see, his death may require the New England Patriots to pay the remaining 15 Million left on his contract. 

Under a long-standing Massachusetts legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard.

Hernandez, a former NFL star, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

Massachusetts prison officials said Hernandez was found hanging in his prison cell early Wednesday. His death came less than a week after his acquittal on murder charges in the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012.

Hernandez’s attorneys can move to have the conviction in the Lloyd case erased, said Martin Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association.

“For all intent and practical purposes, Aaron Hernandez will die an innocent man, but the court of public opinion may think differently,” said Healy.

The legal principle is called “abatement ab initio,” or “from the beginning.” It holds that is unfair to the defendant or to his or her survivors if a conviction is allowed to stand before they had a chance to clear their names on appeal, in case some kind of error or other injustice was determined to have occurred at trial, Healy said.

“It’s a surprising result for the public to understand,” he added.

All first-degree murder convictions in Massachusetts trigger an automatic appeal. Hernandez’s appeal had not yet been heard by the state’s high court.

Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office which prosecuted the Lloyd case, would not comment on the possibility of the conviction being vacated.

Removing a conviction after the death of a high-profile defendant is not without precedent in recent state history.

The child molestation conviction of former Roman Catholic priest John Geoghan, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boston archdiocese, was vacated after he was beaten to death in 2003 in his cell at the same Massachusetts maximum-security prison.

John Salvi, who was convicted of killing two abortion clinic workers and wounding five other people during a shooting rampage in Brookline in 1994, also had his convictions tossed after he killed himself in prison. Source

Such a tragic story!

Tags: Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots

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