abatement ab initio

Primary tabs

Abatement ab initio is a rule in criminal law which negates a conviction if the defendant died before they could exhaust all appeals. In People v. Mount, a California Court of Appeals described the rule as dismissing or remanding a criminal conviction “when a defendant dies while his or her direct appeal is pending.” It states that the rationale of the rule is that “when an appeal has been taken from a criminal conviction to the court of appeals and death has deprived the accused of his right to our decision, the interests of justice ordinarily require that the defendant not stand convicted without resolution of the merits of his or her appeal.” There, however, the Court refused to apply the rule because the decedent died in a collateral proceeding and not on direct appeal of his conviction.  

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]