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Bobby Cann killed on Clybourn last night. Critical Mass Tribute?

Hi everyone,

My dear, close friend was killed on his way home from work last night. His name is Bobby Cann. Friends and I gathered at his house after to mourn. He was my best friend. He was such an advocate for cycling and safety. I met him years ago while working at REI. I want to have tomorrow's Mass in his honor. Any ideas/help?

Thank you all,

Phil

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my thoughts EXACTLY.

Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

It's a shame that only drunk drivers get caught and sober drivers still get away with killing.

Even when they're caught, it's very rare for a motorist who kills a pedestrian or cyclist to get more than a traffic ticket, and often, not even that.  Part of the problem, I think, is that there are usually only two witnesses in such a case: one's the perpetrator and the other's dead.  Maybe this could change as more bikers use bike/helmet cams. 

SIGN THIS PETITION:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/no-plea-bargain-for-ryne

Petition Background

Ryne Sanhamel, while driving drunk with a Blood-Alcohol level of .125 drove into and killed cyclist Bobby Cann. Rather than allowing him to bargain for a plea agreement he should get a full trial, in open and public court, to determine his sentencing for this Reckless Homicide and Aggravated DUI felony crime.

Petition Statement

Ryne Sanhamel, while driving drunk with a Blood-Alcohol level of .125 drove into and killed cyclist Bobby Cann. He should stand full trial and not a negotiated plea bargain to determine his sentence.

Petition to Anita Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney

With all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, one is innocent until proven guilty.  Demanding a full trial could result in a finding of not guilty.  There is no sentencing when one is found not guilty.

While on the face of it a finding of not guilty seems unlikely, does anyone here really know what the state's evidence is?  If he enters a plea, he will be sentenced.  If he goes to trial and is found not guilty, he will walk out of the courtroom.

Thanks Lisa for explaining the situation.

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

With all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, one is innocent until proven guilty.  Demanding a full trial could result in a finding of not guilty.  There is no sentencing when one is found not guilty.

While on the face of it a finding of not guilty seems unlikely, does anyone here really know what the state's evidence is?  If he enters a plea, he will be sentenced.  If he goes to trial and is found not guilty, he will walk out of the courtroom.

Thanks for pointing that out, Lisa.

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

With all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, one is innocent until proven guilty.  Demanding a full trial could result in a finding of not guilty.  There is no sentencing when one is found not guilty.

While on the face of it a finding of not guilty seems unlikely, does anyone here really know what the state's evidence is?  If he enters a plea, he will be sentenced.  If he goes to trial and is found not guilty, he will walk out of the courtroom.

May I just add that there apparently is more than one charge pending:  Aggravated DUI ( a Class 2 felony) and Reckless Homicide (a Class 3 felony).  The state must prove each element of each offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If for either charge they cannot prove just one element, there must be a finding of not guilty on the charge for which they cannot prove all elements.  The defendant does not need to prove anything.

Taking a case to trial is risky for everyone.  The suggestion of attending court hearings is a better one than to sign this petition.  Attending court hearings lets the State's Attorney's office know that there is concern in the community for a stiff sentence, and might influence what they are willing to offer in exchange for a plea.  Of course, the State's Attorney has the evidence and also knows the risks and possible benefits of going to trial. 

I have a little experience in this.  I was a witness (and almost involved) in a multi-car accident on Foster.  A young driver, who may well have been under the influence, and may well have been racing, lost control pulled onto the Sidewalk at about 40 MPH, rolled down the sidewalk, came off the curve and hit the cars directly in front of me.  a lot of the cars were badly damaged, at least one smaller car with kids in the backseat was essentially destroyed.  He then got out of the SUV and stood on the side of the ride like a "bystander".    Fortunately, enough of us recognized him so the Police eventually grabbed him.

Move forward several months of the trial.   A number of us kept coming as witnesses every month or so and every month or so the trial would be postponed for a variety of reasons.  Mostly after it was seen which witnesses were there.    And each time fewer and fewer witnesses came to the trial.  Finally it came down to a day of trial.   It turned out that ALL of the other potential witnesses that had arrived were people that had been hit.  From behind.  And had not seen the accident.  And they all had injuries and law suits pending against the guy.   All of the other witnesses who had actually seen the accident had given up and stopped coming. 

Fortunately, I had seen it all, and I am a very good witness.   After detailing what I had seen, in a clear and doubt eliminating matter, it became clear that I could provide enough to get a likely conviction.  But the prosecution, having only one clear witness, was hesitant and ended up agreeing to a plea bargain in which the driver didn't even lose his license for a period of time.   Why, because he had only send a number of kids and parents to the hospital with long term injuries, but had not actually killed anyone.   It didn't take away, suspend or even "provisional" his license.   It didn't put an actual "conviction" for a felony on his record.  (He took a suspended plea of guilt).   The system is broken.

What needs to be done is a demand for greater accountability in the law and a private law suit by the family and the estate extracting as much money as it can from the driver, the place that served the alcohol, and to the extent that it can be established, the "friends" in the car that let him drive.   Money  does not bring back the dead, but its the best that we can really do.

I don't necessarily see a jury trial.    Jury trials are much harder for defendants to pull off the "delay until the witness gives up" strategy which is a common trick.  And a jury would likely be "mad" at this guy and thus likely to ignore any evidence to the contrary.   A Judge, on the other hand, could perhaps be convinced by a technical defense and the lack of actual witnesses. 

So, yes, the danger is that this guy will stretch out the trial date over and over again until the witnesses (and I hope to heck we have witnesses) for the prosecution get tired and don't come back.  And then his buddies in the car will argue, in some way, that the bicyclist was at fault.  And "poof" we might not see an acceptable outcome.    And if he is going to go to jail, the sooner we get this person sentenced, the sooner this will happen.  Right now he's out on bail.  

What? You want to sue the bar that served him? It's not their fault he drank so much, then decided to drive. I can see maybe placing a tiny fraction of the blame on his friends who let him drive and were in the car with him, but it is no way the bar's fault. He could have just as easily gotten drunk at a friend's house instead. Are we to blame the liquor store who sold him a 24 back of Bud Light? In the end, the driver has the sole responsibility to not drive if he knows he is impaired, and thus should receive the full punishment.

David crZven 10.6 said:

What needs to be done is a demand for greater accountability in the law and a private law suit by the family and the estate extracting as much money as it can from the driver, the place that served the alcohol, and to the extent that it can be established, the "friends" in the car that let him drive.   Money  does not bring back the dead, but its the best that we can really do.

Hell yes.  And its a legitimate target under Illinois law.  Its called the "Illinois Dram Shop Act"

Here's a brief bit from Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions summarizing the law:

Section 6-21 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 (the Dramshop Act) (235 ILCS 5/6-21
(2000)) creates a cause of action against owners of businesses that sell liquor, and also against
lessors or owners of the premises on which the liquor is sold, for physical injury to a person, for
injury to tangible property, or for injury to means of support or loss of society, but not both,
caused by an intoxicated person.

   If somewhere legally sells alcohol for a profit, it is legally responsible if the customer gets involved in a drunk driving accident.   They are subject to limits, frankly rather low limits, but they have legal responsibility.  Under Illinois law, servers are supposed to be trained to determine whether the customer has had to much to drink and to cut them off from buying more.  

The law was created expressly because consumers of Alcohol are NOT good judges of whether they have had too much.



Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

What? You want to sue the bar that served him? It's not their fault he drank so much, then decided to drive. I can see maybe placing a tiny fraction of the blame on his friends who let him drive and were in the car with him, but it is no way the bar's fault. He could have just as easily gotten drunk at a friend's house instead. Are we to blame the liquor store who sold him a 24 back of Bud Light? In the end, the driver has the sole responsibility to not drive if he knows he is impaired, and thus should receive the full punishment.

David crZven 10.6 said:

What needs to be done is a demand for greater accountability in the law and a private law suit by the family and the estate extracting as much money as it can from the driver, the place that served the alcohol, and to the extent that it can be established, the "friends" in the car that let him drive.   Money  does not bring back the dead, but its the best that we can really do.

I agree.  Assuming that all we have discussed on these pages is true the driver is guilty of multiple crimes.  The law assumes he is innocent until proven guilty but the early discussion seems to lead us to believe that the State can overcome their burden.  If this is the case, it may well be that the parties will negotiate. This is not a sell out. This is the system working Trials are not held simply for catharsis or to make us feel good. There is ample room for justice in a negotiated outcome.  If the parties settle it will be based on how likely each side feels their position may be.  (We must remember that they certainly have more facts than we do. He may be even more or perhaps less guilty than we all think)  If the State has strong evidence its likely the driver will be a guest of the People of the State of Illinois for a while. We don't need a show trial to scare people into better behavior. We don't need to draw and quarter the guilty party. Whatever you say about our society, it has grown past such things.  Bad people should get a fair trip through the system and  good outcomes should result.

I have been chastised in other threads for discussing the reality that a civil proceeding (for money) will also likely result.  No amount of damage can replace a lost son.  Its still a more humane pound of flesh. I really get no satisfaction from seeing another person go to jail or suffer. That's the last I will discuss of this. I am not involved and assume the family will make their own decisions once the utter agony of the past week has passed from acute searing pain to a more chronic dull ache.

Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi said:

May I just add that there apparently is more than one charge pending:  Aggravated DUI ( a Class 2 felony) and Reckless Homicide (a Class 3 felony).  The state must prove each element of each offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If for either charge they cannot prove just one element, there must be a finding of not guilty on the charge for which they cannot prove all elements.  The defendant does not need to prove anything.

Taking a case to trial is risky for everyone.  The suggestion of attending court hearings is a better one than to sign this petition.  Attending court hearings lets the State's Attorney's office know that there is concern in the community for a stiff sentence, and might influence what they are willing to offer in exchange for a plea.  Of course, the State's Attorney has the evidence and also knows the risks and possible benefits of going to trial. 

A Jury Trial will be held if the Defendant wants a Jury Trial.   But a defendant can knowingly waive a Jury Trial.  And this might be one of those cases where the Defendant might want to waive a jury trial.

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