Hernandez case sparks bill to keep crime convictions intact

Aaron Hernandez
FILE - In this March 15, 2017, file photo, Defendant Aaron Hernandez listens during his double murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court, in Boston. A judge is set to hear arguments in a push by lawyers for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez to erase his conviction in a 2013 murder. The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool, File)

BOSTON (AP) — The dismissal of Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction after the former NFL star took his life in prison has renewed calls to change a longstanding legal tradition in Massachusetts.

On Monday, lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill that would keep intact criminal convictions of people who die before their appeals are heard. That would eliminate the current legal doctrine cited by a judge last month in vacating Hernandez’s conviction in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player.

The bill was filed on behalf of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan well before Hernandez’s death. If passed, it would only affect future cases and have no impact on the Hernandez ruling.

Hernandez took his life after his acquittal in two other slayings but remained in prison for Lloyd’s death.