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Willie McWilliam

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with no crime
On July 28, 2004, 18-year-old Willie McWilliam was arrested in Chicago, Illinois and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a firearm.

On November 3, 2004, McWilliam pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court and was sentenced to one year on probation.

On April 13, 2010, McWilliam was arrested again in Chicago on a charge of aggravated unlawful possession of a firearm. On June 8, 2010, McWilliam pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court and was sentenced to boot camp.

In September 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the statute under which McWilliam 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 2022, McWilliam’s lawyer, Joel Flaxman, filed a motion to vacate the convictions based on the Aguilar ruling. After the motion was granted in February 2022, both convictions were vacated, and the cases were dismissed.

On April 20, 2022, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Erica Reddick granted McWilliam certificates of innocence in both cases. He then filed a petition seeking compensation from the Illinois Court of Claims.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/30/2022
Last Updated: 11/30/2022
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2004
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No