Even though former NFL standout Aaron Hernandez died in prison while serving a life sentence on a murder conviction, he is expected to end up being declared legally innocent. CNN reports that the rule of abatement is likely to lead to dismissal of his charges posthumously.
Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, hanged himself early Wednesday in his prison cell, as we reported previously. “Hernandez had been serving a sentence of life in prison without parole after being convicted of the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd,” CNN notes.
“But a court will vacate that conviction because Hernandez’s appeal was pending, said Rosanna Cavallaro, a law professor at Suffolk University who has written about abatement,” CNN adds.
Cavallaro told CNN: “The idea is that if an appeal hasn’t happened, there’s a chance that a conviction has an error in it. Rather than have someone with that incomplete decision that they’re guilty, the state chooses instead to say that conviction is abated — as if it never had happened.”
Cavallaro added that the conviction’s dismissal is “pro forma,” or automatic.
Hernandez had filed an appeal of the murder conviction, but a hearing date had not been set.