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Special Prosecutor Appointed In Koschman Case

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 6, 2012 10:10PM

2012_4_6_koschman.jpg Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin ruled a special prosecutor be prosecuted today to investigate how Chicago Police and the Cook County State's Attorney handled the investigation of the 2004 death of David Koschman. In the process, Toomin offered a stern rebuke to Police and the State's Attorney as to how the case was handled, declaring: “The system has failed David Koschman.”

Attorney's for Koschman's family sought the appointment, arguing police deliberately falsified reports Koschman was the instigator in the scuffle with Richard "RJ" Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Vanecko was identified as the one who threw the punch that eventually killed Koschman, but charges were never filed against him in connection to the incident.

State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office has long taken the position the Koschman family was "jumping to conclusions" about claims of missing evidence and files in the case. Toomin sided with the Koschmans, citing "missing files syndrome" on the part of prosecutors and police, said the claim Vanecko punched Koschman in self-defense was "conjured up by police and prosecutors" and that sworn statement by witnesses contradicted that claim, and questioned the investigation's conclusions.

"Quite simply, we had a dead body," he said. "This is not a whodunit. We know who did it. We have a known offender and yet no charges."

David Koschman's mother, Nanci, was relieved after Toomin's ruling.

"And I hope I finally get some justice for David. I'll go see him this afternoon at the cemetery and tell him that we won one step. Now we'll go for the next one."

Alvarez said she will not appeal Toomin's ruling and again said she had no conflict of interest in prosecuting the case.

"My oath of office does not permit me to run away from issues because they are difficult or unpopular, or because I will come under false and unfair political scrutiny," she said, speaking a few minutes after the ruling was announced. "I will not be bullied into any decision on any case that is not supported by the law and admissible evidence."

Toomin ruled that Alvarez's relationship with Daley did not constitute a conflict of interest. He will confer with Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Chief Cook County Criminal Courts Judge Paul Biebel before appointing the special prosecutor