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Former Patriots Tight End’s Conviction Erased

As the country was transfixed by the news that former tight end of the New England Patriots and Connecticut native, Aaron Hernandez, had committed suicide in prison, many in the legal world began to speculate on what this would mean for his conviction and the fate of the civil suit of the family of slain Odin Lloyd. According to the CT Post, Hernandez’s conviction has been vacated because he died before being able to exhaust all appeals, which is established in Massachusetts case law. The civil suit for wrongful death is expected to go forward.

Erasing convictions post-mortem for lack of a chance to appeal is a controversial topic, but Massachusetts is not alone, and some federal courts have also used this practice. The Day reports that abatement ab initio has been around for more than a century in the United States, but it is not the law in Connecticut.In fact, while some states allow convictions to go forward after the defendant is deceased, Connecticut considers posthumous appeals unnecessary and dismisses them.

However, a civil case for wrongful death is also able to go forward in Connecticut, even if one party has died, whether that is the defendant or the plaintiff. This occurs regularly in the case of motor vehicle fatalities. The executor of the estate is able to file suit on behalf of the deceased for medical bills and damages. Likewise, if the at-fault driver died in a car crash, the executor of the estate can be sued in his or her place.



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