Hernandez case brings effort to keep convictions intact

BOSTON (AP) Massachusetts lawmakers are re-examining a legal custom that allows for criminal convictions to be erased when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard.

The scrutiny follows Aaron Hernandez's prison death.

A judge dismissed the former NFL player's murder conviction in a 2013 killing after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell in April. His death was ruled a suicide.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan asked a legislative committee on Monday to endorse a bill that would end the practice of automatically dismissing convictions when a defendant dies before appeal. Under Ryan's proposal, convictions would stand but family members or defense attorneys could continue pursuing appeals.

Another bill, filed by Democratic Rep. Evandro Carvalho, would eliminate automatic dismissals when defendants kill themselves.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.