BOSTON (AP) — A legal tradition in Massachusetts that calls for criminal convictions to be erased when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard is coming under renewed scrutiny following the prison death of Aaron Hernandez.

A judge dismissed the murder conviction of the former NFL player in a 2013 killing after Hernandez was found hanging in his cell in April. His death was ruled a suicide.

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Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan asked a legislative committee on Monday to endorse a bill that would end the practice of automatically dismissing convictions when a defendant dies before appeal. Under Ryan’s proposal, convictions would stand but family members or defense attorneys could continue pursuing appeals.

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Another bill, filed by Democratic Rep. Evandro Carvalho, would eliminate automatic dismissals when defendants take their own lives.

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