Jenner & Block

“The Silvonus Shannon Story,” The Bencher

In this article, Partner Robert L. Byman discusses his pro bono representation a teen-ager who was involved in the high-profile death of a Fenger High School student in 2009.  Bob explores the case, in which the beating death of Derrion Albert was caught on video.  Fenger student Silvonus Shannon was among those charged, and the firm responded to his mother’s plea for help in representing her son.  Mr. Shannon himself was struck in the head with a  board in the melee, and the medical examiner testified that Mr. Albert could have sustained a fatal blow before he and Mr. Shannon encountered each other in the fight.  Bob analyzes the case and the outcome: Mr. Shannon was sentenced to 32 years in prison.  Since then, all avenues have been exhausted.  “This is not a success story,” he concludes.  “Despite our efforts, a boy who made one mistake faces 32 years of paying for it. But perhaps it is a success story – not for the lawyers but for the man who was once the boy who made that mistake. Silvonus remains respectful and hopeful.”  Bob co-wrote the article with former Associate Olivia T. Luk.