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Devin Seats

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with no crime
On August 20, 2008, 21-year-old Devin Seats was charged with failing to return from a furlough to a facility in Chicago, Illinois where he was required to live while transitioning from the Illinois Department of Corrections to being released on parole.

At the time, Seats had been convicted twice of aggravated unlawful possession of a weapon in Chicago. He had pled guilty to both charges and was sentenced to one year in prison in one case and three years in prison in the other case.

On April 28, 2009, Seats pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court to the failure to return charge and was sentenced to two years in prison.

In 2012, Seats was convicted of aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm for a shooting in 2011. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In 2021, Seats, acting without a lawyer, sought to vacate the failure to return conviction. He cited a September 2013 ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Aguilar that the portion of the weapons possession statute under which he had been twice 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.

Seats sought to vacate the failure to return conviction because it was listed as an “escape” on his prison record, which resulted in restrictions on his ability to move about in prison and to obtain prison jobs. On April 3, 2022, the failure to return conviction was vacated and the case was dismissed.

On May 23, 2022, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Erica Reddick granted Seats a certificate of innocence. Seats then filed a claim for compensation with the Illinois Court of Claims and was awarded $30,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 12/12/2022
Last Updated: 12/12/2022
Most Serious Crime:Other Nonviolent Felony
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:2 years
Age at the date of reported crime:22
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No