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Aisha McClinton

Other Illinois Weapons Exonerations
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Aisha McClinton was arrested March 14, 2010 outside the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois. She was visiting an inmate and initially refused to allow guards to search her car. When she ultimately consented, officers found a small amount of marijuana. During a second search, officers found a 9-millimeter gun in the waistband of McClinton’s pants.

She was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, bringing a firearm into a penal institution, and bringing cannabis into a penal institution. The latter two charges were dropped, and McClinton was convicted on April 14, 2011 after a bench trial in Will County Circuit Court of the aggravated weapons charge. Judge Sarah Jones sentenced McClinton to three years on probation and 156 days in jail.

In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court declared the charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon to be unconstitutional, vacating all convictions under that statute. McClinton’s conviction was vacated on February 19, 2014.

She filed for a certificate of innocence in early 2016. It was denied on June 15, 2016 by Judge Jones, who said McClinton was not entitled to the certificate because she had not established factual innocence.

McClinton appealed. Her attorneys argued that McClinton had no need to prove factual innocence, because the statute under which McClinton was convicted had been declared unconstitutional, giving her a valid pathway to receiving a certificate of innocence under Illinois law.

The Third District of the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled in McClinton’s favor on May 10, 2018, stating that Jones had abused her discretion and ordering the trial court to grant McClinton her certificate of innocence. She received it on Nov. 27, 2018.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 12/3/2018
State:Illinois
County:Will
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2010
Convicted:2011
Exonerated:2018
Sentence:5 months
Race:Black
Sex:Female
Age at the date of reported crime:32
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No