Bill prompted by Hernandez verdict dismissal after suicide

FILE - The prison death of Hernandez is prompting lawmakers to revisit a centuries-old Massachusetts legal principle. Under a bill heard Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, a person who takes their own life after being convicted of a crime would automatically lose all rights to appeal. Hernandez’s murder conviction in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd was dismissed after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell last April. (John Blanding, Boston Globe/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

BOSTON (AP) — The prison suicide of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is prompting lawmakers to revisit a centuries-old Massachusetts legal principle.

Under a bill heard Tuesday by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, people who kill themselves after being convicted of a crime would automatically lose all rights to appeal.

Hernandez’s murder conviction in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd was dismissed after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell last April. The legal principle holds that a defendant who dies before an appeal is heard should no longer be considered guilty in the eyes of the law.

Democratic Rep. Evandro Carvalho, of Boston, filed the legislation after meeting with Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, who was upset when the conviction was erased.

The bill, if passed, could not be applied retroactively to Hernandez.

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