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Jauan O'Neal

Other Cook County Plea Exonerations
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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 a “pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm” “on his or her person or in any vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person except when on his or her land or his or her abode or fixed place of business…” and the firearm was “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 Flax 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.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/15/2019
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Convicted:2007
Exonerated:2018
Sentence:18 months
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:20
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No