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.
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