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Dowaun Andrew

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with no crime
On November 21, 2002, 17-year-old Douwan Andrew was arrested in an alley near 110 West 108th Place in Chicago, Illinois after a police officer saw him toss a handgun under a van. Andrew was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On February 10, 2003, Andrew pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court and was sentenced to two years on probation.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which Andrew 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 2021, attorney Joel Flaxman filed a motion to vacate the conviction based on the Aguilar ruling. After the motion was granted on May 28, 2021, Andrew’s conviction on the gun charge was vacated, and the case was dismissed. By that time, Andrew was serving a 70-year prison sentence after he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2007. He was convicted under the name of Andrew Douwan.

Flaxman then sought a certificate of innocence. On March 31, 2022, the certificate of innocence was granted. Flaxman then filed a claim with the Illinois Court of Claims seeking compensation. In July 2022, the Court of Claims denied the claim, ruling that Andrew had pled guilty to a violation of probation, not aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

In September 2022, Flaxman filed a petition for a rehearing by the Court of Claims. He noted that the court had based its ruling on a misreading of the docket—Andrew had indeed pled guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a firearm. The petition was pending as of October 27, 2022.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/31/2022
Last Updated: 10/31/2022
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2002
Age at the date of reported crime:17
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No