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Marcus Borne

Other Gun Possession Exonerations
On September 2, 2004, police arrested 19-year-old Marcus Borne in his father’s home near 88th Street and South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Borne had been sleeping in a bedroom when officers came to investigate the presence of firearms and found three handguns.

Borne, who was staying there, said the guns were not his. Nonetheless, Borne, who had a prior conviction for illegal possession of a firearm, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

On December 15, 2004, Borne pled guilty to the reduced charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released On March 8, 2006.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Borne had been convicted was unconstitutional. The statute said that a person committed the offense of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon when a person “carries on or about his person or in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his abode or fixed place of business any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm and the firearm is uncased, loaded and immediately accessible.”

The court held that portion of the statute violated the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

In 2014, Borne was at the Cook County Criminal Courts building attempting, without a lawyer, to vacate his conviction based on that decision. Bradley Yusim, a partner at the law firm of Jenner & Block, happened to be in the same courtroom and offered to represent him without charge.

Yusim and Jenner & Block associate LaRue Robinson got Borne’s conviction vacated, and Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Wadas dismissed the charges on August 22, 2014. Yusim and Robinson then filed a petition for a certificate of innocence.

At a hearing before Chief Criminal Court Judge LeRoy Martin, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office argued that Borne was ineligible for a certificate of innocence because he could have been convicted of violating other portions of the statute that were not ruled unconstitutional—such as having a gun under the age of 21 and failing to have a valid firearm owners identification card at the time of his arrest.

Robinson argued that Borne was not charged with any other crime and the basis for his arrest was not tied to his age or whether he had a valid firearm owner ID card. Robinson also noted that the Illinois certificate of innocence statute focuses on the conviction for which a defendant is incarcerated, not potential charges that might have been brought but weren’t.

On February 24, 2016, Judge Martin granted the request for a certificate of innocence. Borne subsequently filed for compensation from the Illinois Court of Claims and was awarded $30,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/15/2017
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2004
Sentence:2 years
Age at the date of reported crime:19
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No