Can a Person Be Convicted for Personally Discharging a Firearm That He Owned ?

In People v. Neylon, 327 Ill. App. 3d 300, 307, 762 N.E.2d 1127, 261 Ill. Dec. 200 (2002), defendant stood accused of personally discharging a firearm; and his counsel argued in opening statement that defendant had fired a gun inside a residence, because he did not realize that such a firing was against the law. Neylon, 327 Ill. App. 3d at 306. During closing, defense counsel also admitted that defendant owned the gun in question. Neylon, 327 Ill. App. 3d at 307. After the appellate court observed that, for a conviction of this particular offense, the defendant "must possess and discharge his firearm," the appellate court reversed his conviction, holding that there was "no proof defendant personally fired the gun." Neylon, 327 Ill. App. 3d at 307. Thus, the appellate court concluded that, in a criminal case, a defense counsel's concessions in his opening and closing statements constituted "no proof."