News or Noise: After his suicide, can Aaron Hernandez really recoup money from Pats?

May 10, 2017 11:53 PM

You can't trust everything you read online. In News or Noise, Jennifer Mobilia looks at what true, what's fake, and what lies in the middle.

Here's the post that's circulating recently.

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It says: "How's this for a twist? Aaron Hernandez committed suicide because under the state of Massachusetts law, if you die during an appeal of a conviction the original conviction becomes null and void.  This means he never technically violated the New England Patriots contract, thus his daughter is now entitled to the remainder of the guaranteed $15 million the Patriots owe him."

There's two parts to this claim.

First, let’s look at his murder conviction in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd. It's true. On Tuesday, a judge did vacate the murder conviction against the former NFL star because of an old, obscure law called abatement ab initio. It's a Latin word meaning "from the beginning." Massachusetts case law has long established that defendants who die before their appeals are heard, have their legal record in that matter wiped clean, like it never even happened.

The second part of the claim -- that Aaron Hernandez's daughter is now entitled to $15 million from the New England Patriots – is not true. According to this 2013 article, the Patriots voided all of Hernandez's contract guarantees because of his arrest, long before his conviction. Therefore it's highly unlikely any contract guarantees will be reinstated because the Patriots could argue their decision was based on the arrest, not conviction.

So while there is some news to this article, there's also some noise, so we're giving it a 50-50.


Jennifer Mobilia

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