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Vashaun Williams

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations
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On September 15, 2004, Chicago police arrested 23-year-old Vashaun Williams and charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On December 8, 2004, Williams pled guilty to the charge in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released on parole on August 7, 2006.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Williams 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 2007, Williams was charged with a double murder in Chicago. He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. In 2020, he filed a motion to vacate his 2004 conviction based on the Aguilar decision. The motion was granted and on September 21, 2020, Cook County Circuit Court Criminal Division Presiding Judge Leroy Martin Jr. granted Williams a certificate of innocence.

Williams subsequently filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation. In May 2021, he was awarded $50,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 12/17/2021
Last Updated: 12/17/2021
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2004
Convicted:2004
Exonerated:2020
Sentence:3 years
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:23
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No