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Sharron Rocquemore

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with no crime
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On May 19, 2017, Chicago police officers, led by Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and his partner, Officer David Salgado, raided the home of 29-year-old Sharron Rocquemore on the west side of Chicago.

The officers reported they discovered 32 grams of phencyclidine (PCP), 218 grams of marijuana, and an illegal handgun. Rocquemore was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of an illegal weapon.

On December 29, 2017, Rocquemore pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court to possession of a controlled substance. She was sentenced to a two-year term of probation.

In February 2021, attorney Joshua Tepfer from the Exoneration Project, a free legal clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, filed a petition seeking to vacate Rocquemore’s conviction.

The petition detailed how Elizondo and Salgado had been convicted in U.S. District Court of corruption charges relating to the falsification of search warrants, planting of drugs and guns on innocent men and women, and the theft of cash and other valuables from homes that were illegally searched. The officers then filed false reports.

Elizondo, who had been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison, and Salgado, who had been sentenced to five years and eleven months in prison, used anonymous informants, which were in fact “dummy informants,” to obtain the search warrants. Tepfer’s petition noted that the two officers were convicted in part based on testimony from the phony informants, including Latonia Gipson.

Gipson told federal prosecutors that she hated Rocquemore and provided false information to the officers. However, she never went before any judge regarding the information that was used in the search warrant for Rocquemore’s residence.

After Rocquemore pled guilty and the existence of the federal investigation of the officers became known, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office began dismissing pending cases that were based on arrests made by Elizondo and Salgado. More than three dozen pending cases had been dismissed by the time Tepfer filed the petition on Rocquemore’s behalf.

The petition said that on two occasions, Gipson had provided false information about Rocquemore and each time, the officers obtained warrants and raided Rocquemore’s residence the very same day. The charges based on the first search were dismissed. But the charges from the second search resulted in Rocquemore’s conviction.

Each time, as was documented in dozens of other cases, Elizondo and Salgado brought a phony informant before a judge who swore “to a false narrative to procure the judge to sign a search warrant application,” the petition said. These phony informants were subsequently paid by the officers for their false testimony.

Rocquemore pled guilty because she wanted to get out of jail, the petition said. Her attorney at the time confirmed that “Rocquemore informed him that she was innocent, but after weighing her options, advised that she wanted to accept the plea offer so that she could immediately get out of jail.”

The petition said that Gipson had been an informant for Elizondo for a decade by the time he and Salgado became partners. She said that on two occasions, she had been the phony informant who went before a judge. “Elizondo or Salgado would instruct her on details to tell a judge so that the corrupt officers could procure a search warrant. Gipson would do so, lying to the judge and giving false information, and Elizondo and Salgado would pay her a portion of money, drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes they would steal from the residences when executing the searches,” the petition said.

Gipson told federal prosecutors “that she would often provide information to Elizondo about people she did not like or with whom she was angry so that Elizondo would raid their home and cause them distress.” Such was the case with Rocquemore, the petition said.

On September 9, 2021, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office consented to the granting of the petition. Circuit Court Judge Ursula Walowski vacated Rocquemore’s conviction and the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 9/20/2021
Last Updated: 9/20/2021
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2017
Convicted:2017
Exonerated:2021
Sentence:Probation
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Female
Age at the date of reported crime:29
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No