Hernandez case brings effort to keep convictions intact

The legal tradition in Massachusetts of erasing criminal convictions when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard is coming under renewed scrutiny following the prison death of Aaron Hernandez. A judge dismissed the murder conviction of the former New England Patriots player in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell in April. The basis for the ruling was a legal principle dating back centuries and formally known as abatement ab initio, or ''from the beginning.'' It holds that a defendant convicted at trial but who dies before an appeal is heard should no longer be considered guilty in the eyes of the law, thereby returning the case to its pretrial status.

Source: Yahoo.com