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Jauan O'Neal

Other Cook County Plea Exonerations'Neal.jpg
On September 18, 2007, Chicago police arrested 20-year-old Jauan O’Neal for possession of a handgun. He was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

On November 29, 2007, O’Neal pled guilty to the charge in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released on parole on February 1, 2008.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which O’Neal 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.

By that time, O’Neal had been convicted of murder in Chicago and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In April 2018, O’Neal, acting without a lawyer, filed a motion seeking to vacate his conviction on the 2007 weapon possession conviction based on the ruling in the Aguilar case.

On May 21, 2018, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Claps granted the motion and vacated the conviction. The prosecution then dismissed the charges.

Attorney Joel Flaxman filed a petition seeking a certificate of innocence for O’Neal. On October 12, 2018, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Leroy Martin granted the petition, clearing the way for O’Neal to seek compensation from the state of Illinois for the days he spent incarcerated on that charge. He was awarded $35,000 on January 16, 2019.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/15/2019
Last Updated: 2/7/2020
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Sentence:18 months
Age at the date of reported crime:20
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No