Should Aaron Hernandez's conviction have been tossed?

FILE - In this Friday, April 14, 2017, file photo, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez turns to look in the direction of the jury as he reacts to his double murder acquittal in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. On Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court will consider whether the state should get rid of the centuries-old legal principle that erased Hernandez's murder conviction after he killed himself in prison. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool, File)

Massachusetts' highest court will decide whether the state should scrap a legal principle that erased the murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison

BOSTON — The highest court in Massachusetts will consider whether the state should scrap a legal principle that erased the murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison.

At issue in the case before the Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday is a rule that holds that a defendant who dies before an appeal is heard should no longer be considered guilty in the eyes of the law.

Prosecutors say it's unfair to victims and their families to void the convictions of defendants like Hernandez. They say a defendant's estate should be able to pursue an appeal if they wish or the verdict should stand.

Hernandez's lawyers are urging the court to keep the practice in place.

Hernandez killed himself last year after his acquittal in two other slayings.

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