Aaron Hernandez is still convicted of murder.
Last week, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down the controversial state “doctrine of abatement ab inito”, a rule that allows for convictions to be thrown out in the convicted die while the case is still under appeal.
The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously found that the legal rule that erased Hernandez’s conviction is “outdated and no longer consonant with the circumstances of contemporary life.” It ordered that Hernandez’s conviction is restored and that the practice be abolished for future cases. The ruling does not affect past cases.
Hernandez was found guilty in 2015 of first- degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player and Hernandez’s potential brother in law. Lloyd was found shot to death in a park near Hernandez’s North Attleboro, Massachusetts, home. Hernandez was a member of the New England Patriots during that time.
Hernandez committed suicide in 2017 while incarcerated for that crime. By doing so before the full appeal of the case was heard, his attorneys were initially able to argue that under the doctrine, Hernandez maintained a presumption of innocence during the appeal. As such, the doctrine allowed the conviction to be thrown out, making Hernandez, technically, a man innocent of murder.
That ruling has potential ramifications for Hernandez’s daughter to seek compensation and a pension from his football career, as well as protect whatever remains of Hernandez’s estate from civil suits from the Lloyd family.