Aaron Hernadez’s suicide makes him legally innocent now.
I’m SO TIRED of the Aaron Hernandez posts from conspiracy theorists and armchair lawyers but……….this one actually checks out for the most part and it’s pretty fascinating.
Remember, the most recent case where Hernandez was found not guilty was not his only murder rap. In 2015, he had already been found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd. This double homicide trial for the murders of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado had no bearing on the first one.
Our legal system was primarily based on the English legal system, and the Massachusetts law that covers abatement ab initio dates back to the Thirteen Colonies. Less than ten states still have abatement ab initio on the books, but Massachusetts is one of those states. “Ab initio” in Latin means “from the beginning” and the idea of the law is your legal status goes back to the beginning, as in before your trial, if you die during an appeal or before your legal status is finalized. Your case is not over just because you’re found guilty. It’s over once you’ve exhausted all of your appeals. A higher court always has the option of overturning a conviction. In Hernandez’s case, he died before a higher court has the opportunity to overturn or uphold his conviction, so therefore, his legal status goes back to the beginning. He’s innocent now.
Martin Healy, the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, explains that the state observes abatement ab initio, which in criminal proceedings is applied if a defendant dies before all of their appeals have been resolved.
Under abatement ab initio (the latter phrase meaning “from the beginning”), the defendant’s case returns to its initial phase and the slate is wiped clean.
“It’s as if the trial has never happened, and it’s as if the indictment has never happened,” says Healy, who is unconnected to the case.
So “under the eyes of the law, Hernandez has died an innocent man,” Healy continues. “He has not been convicted of any crime in Massachusetts.”
Abatement ab initio only makes its way into the press when a high profile criminal dies sometime before his legal status has been settled. The most familiar one to most of us would have been Ken Lay during the Enron scandal. He was found guilty and prosecutors were looking for Lay to pay back $44 million in restitution in addition to jail time. His conviction was erased when he died of a heart attack before sentencing because, just like with an appeal, his legal status hadn’t been finalized.
As for the Patriots’ contract, the family can now sue on the grounds that Hernandez was innocent and his contract shouldn’t have been nullified. The Patriots’ actually nixed that contract when Hernandez was indicted, so it’ll still take some legal maneuvering in court, but the conviction from Hernandez’s first trial can never be brought up in court ever again, not in a contract disupte or in a civil suit brought by the victim’s family. Any party going against Hernandez’s estate at this point has to start from scratch to prove his guilt all over again. It’s basically a retrial where the defense knows exactly what the prosecution will say and can build their strategy around that.
As for the meme, most of it is correct, but Hernandez was never entitled to that $15 million. It was a contract over the course of a few years and it wasn’t guaranteed. The family can sue for the remainder of the signing bonus though, which is still a few million dollars. Whether Hernandez knew all of this when he committed suicide is impossible for us to know, but I’m still pretty interested to see how it will play out.
At 3:05 a.m. at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, Massachusetts, former New England Patriots star was found hanging in cell. It’s reported he hung himself with a bed sheet around the window as well as signs of trying to block the door.
The suicide comes days after he was found not guilty of double murder. However he was still serving a life sentence for the murder of semi-pro footballer, Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who committed
suicide in April while serving a life sentence for murder, was found to
have a severe form of C.T.E., the degenerative brain disease linked to
repeated head trauma that has been found in more than 100 former N.F.L.
who examined the brain determined it was “the most severe case they had
ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age,” said a lawyer for Hernandez in
announcing the result at a news conference on Thursday. Hernandez was
I know he was a terrible human being. I know that he most likely killed more than just Lloyd. I know that he deserved to be in prison. And I know that there is a subset of the population that believes because he committed murder, good riddance.
But it is still sad to me that he’s dead. Not because I’m fawning over him because he’s a celebrity, because he could play football, because he was good looking.
I’m sad because I know too many kids who have made BAD decisions. I have had too many friends who have committed suicide. I know too many people who have lived through a loved one’s suicide. I know how completely heart-wrenchingly awful it is. I know that, even if he was in jail, his daughter still knew he was alive. And I believe that one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent.
I just don’t know why some people think that it’s okay to publicly mock those who are saddened by this, or say things like shoulda done it sooner or glad he’s saving the tax payers money. How low a value on human life do you have to hold to think that? I can be sad for the family of Lloyd and also sad for the family of Hernandez. I can be mad at Hernandez but also not want him to kill himself. It’s possible to feel both emotions at the same time.
Thanks for reading. I needed to get this off my chest. Take care of each other, okay?