SJC Decides Hernandez Appeal Case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial  Court on Thursday began considering whether to end a long-standing legal  practice that erases the conviction of a defendant if he or she dies  before all appeals are exhausted.  

The legal principle came under  scrutiny last year when former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez's  murder conviction was forgiven after he was found dead in his prison  cell.  

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn argued that the  vacating of the conviction was fundamentally unfair.  

Springfield Appeals Attorney John Thompson argued that when the defendant died in prison, he became unavailable for appeals and the case should end.

The court is not  expected to rule before the end of the year.

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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