A Key Hearing in the Bobby Cann Case Is Coming Up on Tuesday

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A tribute to Bobby Cann at the crash site. Photo: John Greenfield

According to a source, a staffer from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Victim-Witness Program said a hearing this Tuesday in the case against the driver who killed cyclist Bobby Cann will be crucial and requested that as many people as possible attend.

On the evening of May 29, 2013, Cann, 26, was biking from work when Ryne San Hamel, 28, fatally struck him at the intersection of Clybourn Avenue and Larabee Street in Old Town. According to police, San Hamel was driving in excess of 50 mph and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.127, well above the legal limit of 0.08. He was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, as well as misdemeanor DUI, reckless driving, and failure to stay in the lane.

At a hearing last month, Judge William Hooks dismissed the homicide charge, agreeing with defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. that the wording of the charge in the indictment was too vague for San Hamel’s team to adequately prepare his defense. However, Hooks dismissed the charge “without prejudice,” which means the State’s Attorney can potentially re-indict San Hamel with more specificity in the future. Moreover, the aggravated DUI charge carries a potentially stiffer sentence.

Yesterday, Active Transportation Alliance education specialist Jason Jenkins emailed Cann supporters with a “special plea” to attend the hearing next hearing, which takes place this Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Cook County criminal courts, 2650 South California, in room 301. “We have received a strongly worded message that it will be a very important hearing and your presence will be extremely valuable in court,” Jenkins wrote.

He added that he believes a motion by the defense to quash the search warrant used by police to have San Hamel’s blood drawn and tested for alcohol content may be on the agenda for the hearing. A post on the “Ride on Bobby” Facebook page for Cann family supporters stated that the motion quash will be argued on Tuesday. However, Kate Conway, an attorney for the family, told me she’s not certain that’s the case. The State’s Attorney’s office did not return a call requesting information on the matter.

If the motion to quash is heard on Tuesday, Adam will argue that the police officers who responded to the crash did not have probable cause to arrest San Hamel. If Hooks denies the motion, the case will continue towards a trial. However, if Hooks grants the motion, the case may be thrown out of court.

During the hearing on the motion to quash, the arresting officers may be called to testify on their basis for probable cause. A strong turnout from Cann supporters at the hearing would be helpful to the family during this difficult time.

Jenkins suggested that supporters arrive around 9:00 a.m. if possible to get through security and to get as many seats as possible, since there will be people attending other cases in the courtroom. He asked that bicyclists bring their helmets into the hearing as a show of support for Cann.

  • what_eva

    I used to read a blog by a defense attorney. He said that the motion to quash is pretty standard but the defense rarely expects it to succeed. What it does for the defense is forces the prosecutor to show part of their case without the defense needing to show any of theirs. It also gives the defense a look at how the arresting officer(s) do on the stand, including under cross examination. If an officer is shaky on the stand, a judge isn’t likely to care, but the defense attorney can put that in his pocket for the trial when it might sway a jury.

  • kastigar

    If the motion to quash is submitted by the defense, this would be an excellent opportunity for the states attorney to re-submit the homicide charge.

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Hearings were recently held for the cases of Robert “Bobby” Cann and Hector Avalos, two Chicago cyclists who were killed by allegedly drunk drivers in separate incidents last year. Each case continues to progress slowly. On the evening of May 29, Cann, 26, was riding from work at the nearby Groupon offices when motorist Ryne […]