The Chainlink

Bobby Cann Updates: Ryne San Hamel Pleads Guilty, Receives 10 Days in Jail

Jason Jenkins at ActiveTrans is helping to coordinate community response.  If there is any chance you can attend proceedings, please reach out to him:


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Active Trans: Please sign our letter to local law enforcement and judicial officials calling on them to do more to hold drunk and reckless drivers accountable.

The last petition, discouraging plea bargaining, didn't work out too well.

So not signing it will .... make it worse? 

I have never really understood why people would want to discourage others from taking a five second action by casting aspersions over it. Seems like it takes longer to do that then clicking through social media. <shrug>

I had no intention of discouraging other from signing the petition, and I wasn't casting aspersions over it. I was passing along information.

The previous petition had over 3500 signatures in the first week, and these were printed and delivered to the States Attorney.  There were over 5500 signatures subsequent to that.  Since the sentence was 10 days in jail I think it's fair to say it "didn't work out too well."

I did sign the ATA's petition, and I distributed the petition request to several other websites and mailing list too, encouraging others to sign it.  Perhaps this petition will be more successful.  I certainly hope so.

It's too easy to click-and-sign; you have to do more than that.

That was a very different petition. I am glad to see Active Trans leading this petition. I am going to hopeful this could make an impact. Between the petition and the media coverage, people are taking notice.

In Canada (Ontario) if you are drunk and you hit a cyclist, whether they live or die it is a minimum of 6 years in jail and they revoke your driving privilege for life.

Canada: Looking better all the time!

Signed. Thanks, Yasmeen.

9 months in prison for hacking into celebrities web sites.

10 days in jail for killing a bicyclist.

Remorseful woman gets a year in prison for crashing into trooper's car while drunk, giving him a black eye and a concussion. Judge admits that she would've gotten probation if the injured person wasn't a cop.

John Greenfield follows up with an account of the events surrounding Bobby Cann's death in the Chicago Reader and an analysis of Judge Hook's ten-day sentence:

"When San Hamel's blood was drawn more than three hours later, he was still found to have a blood alcohol level of .15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit."

"In addition, Bullard and Jenkins both say that Hooks didn't seem to take the scientific evidence of San Hamel's intoxication seriously. Instead, the judge said during an earlier hearing that, taking into account the defendant's "gait" and "arm swing" in the video footage, he didn't appear drunk, so he wasn't convinced that San Hamel was impaired."

Chicago Reader full article:

Another important read, "Ten days for a drunk driver who killed is a travesty" 

San Hamel had two previous alcohol-related arrests on his record, but he was able to escape responsibility for this one, the culmination of his recklessness, with the help of a celebrity defense attorney. Unfortunately, our case is not unique. In November 2015, Judge Nicholas Ford sentenced drunk driver Robert Vais, who killed cyclist Hector Avalos, to 100 days in prison and 2 years probation.

We can only conclude that the State of Illinois does not recognize drunk driving — particularly when its more affluent citizens are behind the wheel — as a true threat to the safety of our community.

If the state is not interested in correcting this behavior, we as a community must hold one another accountable. It may be uncomfortable to insist that a loved one, friend or even an acquaintance put down their car keys, but it can be done with kindness. When people drink and drive, they’re putting their own lives at risk. It is an act of love to insist that a friend who’s had too much to drink find another way home — a task that’s never been easier in the age of Lyft and Uber.

TRANSCRIPT of the final hearing/trial of 26 January 2017:

I suppose I'm prejudiced but from reading the transcript it seems like our attorneys, the States Attorney, didn't do much to seek a better outcome, and Judge Hooks showed an inordinate amount of tolerance and acceptance for killing. If I ever got arrested for murder I hope I'd get Judge Hooks so I could find a way to wiggle out of expected punishment.

Like others, it's only after this final hearing, and John's “Streetsblog Chicago” that I learned of the red-light issue, and of the existence of several videos that were never made available. Why wasn't this information made available earlier? Why did Ms. Coleman, the Assistant State Attorney even mention that San Hamel had a green light? (Page 13) While true, it seems to me this took away from her argument rather than supported it.

In the future, if this ever happens again (and I hope it never will) it would seem to me that the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicago Bike Federation) could acquire, and publish these transcripts. As a dues-payin' – card-carryin' member of the ATA I make this suggestion. All the secrecy about reporting over the years didn't seem to do any good and the transcripts would provide an open, balanced, impartial and fair reporting.

Also in my opinion: we owe a big debt of gratitude to the Court Advocates. If it wasn't for their attendance and participation these trial would have been finished a long time ago and an even light sentence would have been imposed. Each day of the hearings the judge, the States Attorney, and the defendant had to know and see that there were a lot of people closing watching the proceedings and interested in the outcome. Without the Court Advocates, this would have probably ended after six months of hearings and we should be grateful for what the Court Advocates did on our behalf.

If nothing else, sign the ATA's petition,

Some, but far from all, of the previous transcripts:


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