Officials: Detainee’s death an example of ‘unjust’ bond system

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The Cook County Jail. | Sun-Times files

A Far South Side man who had been held at the Cook County Jail for four months since being arrested for theft at an Avondale neighborhood Jewel-Osco died in custody Monday morning, in what the sheriff’s office called an example of an “unjust” bond system.

Ryan Hanley, 34, was accused of stealing merchandise valued at less than $300 on June 9 from the store at 3572 N. Elston Ave., according to Cook County Circuit Court records and Chicago Police. Judge Peggy Chiampas set bond at $50,000 for the felony theft charge, records show.

Ryan Hanley | Chicago Police photo

Ryan Hanley | Chicago Police

Hanley had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, according to Cara Smith, chief policy officer for the Cook County sheriff’s office. He died at Stroger Hospital at 8:03 a.m. Monday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Hanley, who pleaded not guilty, was unable to post the required 10 percent of his bond, $5,000, to be released from jail until trial.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Hanley’s death is another shameful reminder of how disgracefully unjust our bond system is,” Smith said in an email Monday night. “He was charged with theft and his bond set at $50,000, despite being terminally ill. We will continue to advocate as strenuously as we can for those impacted by this unjust system.”

Records show a lengthy rap sheet for Hanley, whose most recent home address was listed in the 10500 block of South Spaulding. In addition to several misdemeanor shoplifting and trespassing convictions since 2000, he pleaded guilty to burglary in 2002 and armed robbery in 2005 — both in Chicago — as well as a 2012 felony theft charge in Tinley Park.

An autopsy Tuesday found he died of complications of AIDS and HIV, with chronic drug use listed as a contributing factor. His death was ruled natural.


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