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Deonte Brown

Other Illinois Exonerations for Weapon Possession or Sale
On October 17, 2009, 17-year-old Deonte Brown was arrested in Chicago, Illinois and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On July 12, 2010, Brown pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court and was sentenced to a year in prison.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Brown 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.

In 2020, Brown, represented by Joel Flaxman, filed a motion to vacate the conviction based on the Aguilar ruling. After the motion was granted on October 6, 2020, Brown’s conviction on the gun charge was vacated, and the case was dismissed. By that time, Brown was serving an 18-year prison sentence after he was convicted of aggravated battery in 2013.

Flaxman then filed a motion for a certificate of innocence. On December 10, 2020, the motion was granted. Flaxman filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation. However, the court of claims denied the claim because the sentence on the gun conviction was served concurrently with another sentence in an unrelated case. Flaxman appealed and in July 2022, the Court of Claims awarded Brown $24,000 in compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/28/2022
Last Updated: 8/1/2022
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2010
Sentence:1 year
Age at the date of reported crime:17
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No