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Tarenzo Dillon

Other Illinois Exonerations for Weapon Possession or Sale
On October 29, 2005, Chicago police arrested 21-year-old Tarenzo Dillon and charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On March 23, 2006, Dillon pled guilty to the charge in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to one year on probation.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Dillon 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, Dillon had been convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm in Cook County and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2020, attorney Joel Flaxman filed a motion to vacate Dillon’s aggravated unlawful use of a firearm conviction based on the Aguilar ruling. On October 1, 2020, the motion was granted, the conviction was vacated, and the charge was dismissed.

Dillon then filed a motion for a certificate of innocence. On December 10, 2020, Cook County Criminal Court Chief Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. granted the motion. Dillon then filed a claim for compensation from the state of Illinois. In May 2021, he was awarded $12,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/8/2022
Last Updated: 8/5/2022
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2005
Age at the date of reported crime:21
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No