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Lemuel Straughter

Other St. Clair County, Illinois, Exonerations
On January 10, 2001, 20-year-old Lemuel Straughter was arrested in St. Clair County, Illinois and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On September 29, 2001, Straughter pled guilty in St. Clair County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Straughter 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 this portion of the statute violated the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

By that time, Straughter had been convicted of murder in St. Clair County and sentenced to 50 years in prison. In 2020, Straughter, acting without a lawyer, filed a motion to vacate his conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon based on the Aguilar ruling. On February 21, 2020, the motion was granted. Straughter’s conviction was vacated and the charge was dismissed.

Straughter then filed a motion for a certificate of innocence. On October 16, 2020, the motion was granted. Straughter subsequently filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation. In February 2021, the court of claims awarded him $30,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/19/2022
Last Updated: 3/19/2022
County:St. Clair
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2001
Sentence:1 year
Age at the date of reported crime:20
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No