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Judge in Bobby Cann Case Didn’t Grant SA’s Request to Freeze Proceedings

A man rides by the memorial to Bobby Cann in a new curb-protected bike lane on Clybourn. Photo: John Greenfield

At a hearing this morning in the case against the driver who killed cyclist Bobby Cann, the judge didn't grant a motion by the prosecutor to put all court proceedings on hold until the Illinois Appellate Court decides whether homicide charges against the defendant were valid.

On the evening of May 29, 2013, Cann, 26, was biking at the intersection of Clybourn Avenue and Larabee Street when Ryne San Hamel, 28, fatally struck him while allegedly drunk and speeding. San Hamel 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 Cook County 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.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Assistant State's Attorney Maria Augustus told Hooks that the State’s Attorneys Office had filed an appeal of his decision to dismiss the homicide charge. The appeal will be heard by the Illinois Appellate Court. The ASA also told the judge that they had filed a motion to halt all other business relating to the case until the appellate court makes its decision.

At this morning's hearing, the judge didn't authorize the stay of business that the State's Attorney's Office had requested, according to Active Transportation Alliance education specialist Jason Jenkins, who attended. He added that six Cann family supporters were present. The next hearing was scheduled for Monday, September 21, at 10 a.m. at at the Cook County criminal courts, 2650 South California, in room 301.

The questions remains as to why the State's Attorney's Office is appealing Hooks' decision to dismiss the homicide charge, rather than re-filing charge, and why they have moved to freeze the proceedings. It appears that these motions would delay the case from heading to trial. When I asked about the State's Attorney's strategy this afternoon, spokewoman Tandra Simonton said, "We won't comment on a pending case, except to say that we're moving forward with it."

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