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Nicholas Peterson

Other Minnesota exonerations
On November 5, 2012, 25-year-old Nicholas Peterson was charged with illegal possession of a firearm after police in Princeton, Minnesota arrested him with an air-powered BB pistol.

On November 13, 2012, Peterson pled guilty in Mille Lacs County District court to the charge. He was sentenced to four years in prison. He was released on parole on June 8, 2014.

In 2016, in an unrelated case, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that an air-power weapon was not covered by the state’s firearm statute prohibiting certain guns. The court noted that the state firearm statute defines a weapon as one that uses combustion of gunpowder to propel a projectile.

Based on the ruling, Peterson filed a petition to vacate his conviction. On February 23, 2017, Judge Sarah Hennesy granted the petition. She vacated Peterson’s conviction and dismissed the charge.

Subsequently, Peterson’s attorney, Robert Shane, filed a petition for compensation from the state of Minnesota, which requires a finding that petitioners are innocent. On April 9, 2021, the petition was granted, and Peterson was awarded $108,645.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/7/2022
Last Updated: 7/7/2022
County:Mille Lacs
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2012
Sentence:4 years
Age at the date of reported crime:25
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No