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Michael Jones

Other Cook County, Illinois exonerations with Pleas
On March 31, 2015, Chicago police officers arrested 44-year-old Michael Jones inside a convenience store on the west side of Chicago. The officers said they saw Jones selling heroin outside the store, but he dropped the drugs and ran inside when the officers approached.

Jones claimed he was not selling drugs. He said he had purchased food at a nearby restaurant and went to the convenience store to buy a soda.

On April 21, 2015, officer Brian Cox testified at a preliminary hearing in Cook County Circuit Court that he saw Jones make three drug transactions outside the store. When officers approached, Jones fled into the convenience store where he was arrested. Cox said packets of heroin were found where Jones had dropped them. Officer David Salgado later reported that Jones admitted that he was selling drugs.

On July 23, 2015, Jones pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released on parole on August 16, 2016.

In 2020, attorney Joel Flaxman contacted Jones and informed him that Salgado and another officer, Xavier Elizondo, had been convicted in federal court and sentenced to prison for framing numerous people on false charges of selling or possessing drugs.

Flaxman had discovered that Salgado, Cox, and other police officers falsely claimed they had arrested another man, Elgin Jordan, in almost the same geographic location just minutes before they reported arresting Jones. And during Jordan’s trial, the officers claimed that immediately after they arrested Jordan, they left the scene.

Jordan had been convicted of drug possession in 2016 and sentenced to eight years in prison. His conviction had been reversed in 2019 because the trial judge erroneously refused to grant Jones a bench trial instead of a jury trial. By that time, Salgado and Elizondo had been sentenced to prison.

Jordan’s conviction had been vacated and dismissed on December 13, 2019.

In 2022, Flaxman filed a motion to vacate and dismiss Jones’s case as well. On August 26, 2022, an assistant Cook County State’s attorney agreed to vacate the conviction.

“Based on the documentation provided by the petitioner regarding the timeline of his arrest and another arrest that occurred very close in time, and sworn testimony by officers in the trial of the other defendant, and the preliminary hearing for Mr. Jones, the People believe in the interest of justice that this conviction should be vacated,” the prosecutor said.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Lyke vacated the conviction, and the prosecutor dismissed the charge.

On December 2, 2022, Jones was granted a certificate of innocence, paving the way for him to file a claim for compensation from the state of Illinois. In July 2023, Jones was awarded $80,000 in state compensation. That same month, Jones filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago.

Two other wrongful convictions tied to Salgando and Elizondo were also vacated and dismissed: Matthew Dixon and Sharron Rocquemore.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 5/23/2023
Last Updated: 2/9/2024
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2015
Sentence:3 years
Age at the date of reported crime:44
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No