In the eyes of the state of Massachusetts, the death of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez made him an innocent man, thanks to an archaic legal principle called “abatement ab initio,” said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel to the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Although Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of murdering Odin L. Lloyd of Boston, Hernandez’s appeal was not complete. Abatement ab initio means “from the beginning,” Healy said, and it means that upon a person’s death, if they have not exhausted their legal appeals, their case reverts to its status at the beginning — it’s as if the trial and conviction never happened.
“Unfortunately, in the Odin Lloyd matter, for the family, there won’t be any real closure,” said Healy. “Aaron Hernandez will go to his death an innocent man.”
This is the greatest pick your poison ever. You either spend your life in jail as a guilty man or you kill yourself to become innocent. You think cops use this against prisoners who scream innocence? “You want to be innocent? Kill yourself.” This totally sounds like an episode of Oz. Reboot that show and make it happen.
This legal loophole also means that the NFL and the New England Patriots may owe Aaron Hernandez’s family a lot of money,
In June 2013, the Patriots withheld $3.25 million of Hernandez’s signing bonus. They also refused to pay him his $2.5 million in his guaranteed base salary. New England cited the collective bargaining agreement as their reason for withholding that guaranteed money. That’s the money Hernandez’s lawyers will likely pursue.
Lawyer Michael Coyne added: “The question is then: If he’s no longer criminally liable, has he violated the provisions of any of his contractual terms? And you know, where there’s money like this involved, the lawyers will have a field day.”
Maybe that’s why Hernandez looked relieved and told his fiancée and daughter he loved them in person at his acquittal? Based on every prison movie/tv show I’ve ever seen, most long-term convicts spend their days studying every law under the sun to help get their charges dropped or reduced. I wouldn’t put it past Hernandez to have come across this law and connected the dots to ensure his family a financially stable life.
Hernandez’ suicide came as surprise to most on Wednesday morning.
From Hernandez’s lawyer Jose Baez:
“There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible. Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death. We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation.
I guess those suicide notes were all the proof authorities needed.
For all the details on Hernandez’ acquittal, I strongly recommend Travis Andersen’s story in the Boston Globe.
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