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A Criminal Athlete, His Conviction, His Suicide and an Abatement

American football player, Aaron Hernandez, was convicted in the state Massachusetts for murdering Odin Lloyd in June 2013. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In April of this year, Hernandez was acquitted of double murder charges in a separate case. 

Hernandez had appealed his conviction for murdering Lloyd and before his appeal was heard by the Massachusetts courts, he killed himself while in jail. 

Massachusetts has had for many years a policy on their legal books called: "abatement ab initio" - that if a defendant dies before his/her criminal appeal is heard, the conviction is set aside in order to ensure the right to appeal for defendants. In other words, that Hernandez appealed his conviction and the case was not heard, that he died before the case was considered, then his original conviction is voided.

Attorneys for Hernandez motioned that the Massachusetts courts vacate their client's conviction and on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the courts vacated Hernandez's conviction.

While the district attorney for Bristol County, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, holds that prosecutors would appeal the court's ruling, the Massachusetts court has ruled in a manner that could protect the innocence of Hernandez's 4-year-old daughter. 

She is an innocent soul who has to grow up in a society where her father was a criminal. However, her father died and his death should be taken as payment for his crimes. Moreover, contrary to the argument of prosecutors that vacating Hernandez's conviction was rewarding him because he willfully committed the act of suicide, the innocence and protection of Hernandez's daughter, must outweigh all other circumstances.

Civil matters brought against Hernandez's estate for the death of Odin Lloyd are legitimate separate matters that should not effect the abatement of his conviction. Yet, as the family of Lloyd deserve their justice, a 4-year-old innocent girl should be allowed to grow up without a criminal conviction against her father's name because her father paid for his wrongs with his death. 

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