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Melvin Jones

Other Illinois Exonerations for Weapon Possession or Sale
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/Cook_County_seal.jpg
On June 24, 1999, a Cook County grand jury indicted 19-year-old Melvin Jones on a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a firearm after he was arrested by Chicago police while carrying a gun.

On July 9, 1999, Jones pled guilty to the charge in Cook County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to two years in prison. He spent 93 days in custody.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Jones 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 2019, Jones filed a motion to vacate his gun possession conviction based on the Aguilar ruling. By that time, Jones was serving a 65-year prison sentence after being convicted of a murder in Chicago that occurred on January 8, 2000—just a few months after Jones had been released on parole on the gun possession conviction.

On January 10, 2020, after the motion to vacate Jones’s weapon possession conviction was granted and the charge was dismissed, Jones was granted a certificate of innocence. He then filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation.

On June 3, 2020, the Court of Claims awarded Jones $17,000 in compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/8/2022
Last Updated: 4/8/2022
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1999
Convicted:1999
Exonerated:2020
Sentence:2 years
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:19
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No