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Henry Richardson

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with no crime
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On December 5, 2007, Chicago police arrested 21-year-old Henry Richardson and charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On May 9, 2008, Richardson pled guilty to the charge in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on June 2, 2010.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Richardson 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 2019, Richardson, who had since been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of being a habitual armed criminal, filed a pro se petition seeking to vacate his conviction. On November 1, 2019, Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Obbish granted the petition and vacated his conviction.

Richardson then filed a motion seeking a certificate of innocence. On January 29, 2020, Cook County Circuit Court Criminal Division Presiding Judge Leroy Martin Jr. granted Richardson’s request for a certificate of innocence.

Richardson subsequently filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation. On March 11, 2021, the Court of Claims awarded Richardson $40,000 in compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 12/7/2021
Last Updated: 12/7/2021
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Convicted:2008
Exonerated:2020
Sentence:5 years
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:21
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No