Jason Jenkins at ActiveTrans is helping to coordinate community response. If there is any chance you can attend proceedings, please reach out to him:
November 13th? Did anything happen? Were any court advocates present? Any new information? Any date for the next hearing? Has a trial date been set?
Is Jason's replacement posting news and updates?
Cherrell Jackson <Cherrell@activetrans.org> sent this update, via email, not sure who all receives her emails:
The following update was provided by Jesse Sherwood after attending the hearing yesterday:
As expected, there was not much action today. A date was set for the defense to give their response to the State's Attorney's response to the motion to exclude the blood alcohol test results as evidence from the DUI charges. As I understand it, the defense is challenging the protocol followed when the blood samples were taken and stored at Northwestern.
A date set for the next hearing was Monday December 12th 10am in room 301.
It's been about 3-1/2 years since this killing occurred.
Anita Alverez was the States Attorney to begin prosecution. We've had an election and Kim Foxx is the recently elected and installed States Attorney.
I'm concerned that maybe someone taking over a job might tend to look at ongoing past proceedings and be concerned about writing them off, get them out of the way, clear them off the books, and be able to start anew with new crimes and misdemeanors that come up. I don't think anyone who rides a bike wants to see SanHamel get off with a slight sentence, a small fine, a short time in jail and eventually a new drivers license.
For anyone new to this and unfamiliar with the events and SanHamel's notorious past, read the article "Death of a Cyclist" in the Chicago Reader:
On May 7th of that year we sent a printed petition to Ms. Alverez showing support for a strong prosecution, and encouraging avoidance of an easy plea bargain. In a few weeks over 5200 people signed the petition which was mailed to Ms. Alverez.
Was this petition brought to the attention of States Attorney Kim Foxx?
Is there anything we should be doing to keep this issue alive in the public? I'm sure we won't forget, but will the press, the media, and public lose interest? There's been a lot of silence on this trial. I haven't been getting notices from the Victims Notification System as I had been in the past. A search for the Case No. 13CR1355001produce no results. I haven't heard anything from the Active Transportation Alliance.
After this 3-1/2 years, SanHamel is still walking round free. Does anyone have any ideas of what we should do or be doing?
He isn't driving. License revoked, Secretary of State overrode the reinstatement, car in impound until after the trail, perhaps after appeals.
Thanks for the recap. I'm concerned as well. In the last year, it feels like it's lost momentum all though, that may be a perception rather than reality but still, we do need to keep this present and a topic that stays visible.
With 2016 being as tough of a year as it has been for cyclists, the general bike safety issues have come up but not specifically this case.
An article in today's New York Times Magazine ("Sea of Money", 12/4/2016) reminded me of this case. It discusses the techniques a very wealthy individual used to attempt to conceal assets from his wife in a pending divorce.
[The wife's attorney]...believed that [the husband's] trusts were filing motions or objections it seemed certain to lose, just to exhaust and bankrupt [the wife]. In one lawsuit, the trusts fought against releasing a single piece of paper. The goal wasn't merely to win...but to prevent the case from progressing far enough for its actual merits to be heard. "This isn't some weird aspect of the process," [the attorney] says. "This is the game itself."
This was very much my concern.
The defense files a motion - and the states attorney needs to study it, and reply. The reply is scheduled after a couple of weeks. The prosecution replies, the defense needs to study the reply and several weeks go by so then can reply. The reply needs a reply, so more time passes waiting for a reply to the reply. Finally the judge may make a ruling, and this is appealed which freezes things for a couple of weeks until the appeal comes back and further objections come from whoever the ruling was against.
Most of the past "hearings" only lasted a few minutes and not a lot of new information came out of it.
Yes, his license was revoked, not merely suspended. Nobody drives if they don't have a drivers license. Do they?
I can see the concern of the prosecution: "This case is going nowhere; let's settle this so we can work on something else." A fine, some time in jail. Next case!
Anyone is free to write her a letter to express their position on how the community feels about the prosecution.
But, as people involved in the court advocate program have noted in the past, one of the best ways to communicate interest and express concerns is to get people to show up at the court hearings. It causes both the Judge and the prosecution to remember people care about the case.
Respectfully disagree. Justice (at least in terms of sentencing after a defendant has been found guilty) is not metered out in a vacuum, and prosecutors and courts have huge amounts of discretion regarding how cases are handled that is often swayed by how they view the community's interests that they're serving. Victim impact statements, as just one example, are a recognized part of the criminal justice system. Such statements are then balanced out by mitigating factors presented by the defense.
Concerns regarding preventing future similar conduct and the impact of the crime on the victim, the victim's family, and the community at large are very much at play in any criminal case. IMHO the cycling community has every right to be heard on the issue of what "justice" means in this situation.