An elderly Kent man whose attempted murder conviction was reversed after his death has now been re-convicted in his grave. The Washington State Supreme Court today ruled that Jules Devin, 70, who shot and wounded his daughter-in-law in the face and neck at her Burien home in 2002, should not have had the conviction vacated just because he later died in prison during his appeal. Under a 90-year-old state conviction-abatement rule, such judgments are wiped out as if the crime never happened. The death of a criminal defendant during appeal "permanently abates the action and all proceedings..." under the Furth Rule, because the underlying principle of justice is to punish the convicted - and death seems punishment enough. But the abrupt erasure of a crime can re-injure its victims, preventing them from seeking legal compensation as well as emotional closure. That in part motivated the high court to conclude the rule was improperly applied in this case by the State Court of Appeals and furthermore is in conflict with modern law (attention, legislature). "Accordingly, we overrule Furth to the extent that it vacates challenged convictions automatically upon an appellant's death," the court concluded (emphasis added), "regardless of whether the unresolved appeal has merit or whether compensation is still owed to victims."