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Cook County Chief Judge Asks State Supreme Court For Outside Judge To Handle Vanecko Trial

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 18, 2012 3:15PM

The Chicago Police Department's booking photo of Richard "RJ" Vanecko.
Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint a judge from outside Cook County to preside in the trial of Richard “RJ” Vanecko on involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2004 death of David Koschman. Prosecutors in the trial filed a motion seeking an outside judge after Cook County Associate Judge Arthur F. Hill Jr. recused himself from the case out of “an abundance of caution.” Hill used to work for former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Vanecko’s uncle, when Daley was Cook County State’s Attorney.

Stephen J. Senderowitz filed the request for an outside judge to preside over the case, claiming finding a judge in Cook County without ties to the Daleys or the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office would be nigh impossible. One of Vanecko’s attorneys, Thomas Breen, argued an outside judge would have little knowledge with “Chicago, Chicago landscape, Chicago people, Chicago police,” yet Vanecko’s attorneys didn’t put up a fight when Senderowitz made the request and Judge Michael P. Toomin referred it to Evans.

Evans, in his request to the state Supreme Court, wrote a judge from outside Cook County would restore “public confidence in the administration of justice.” It’s the second request for an outside judge Evans has made in recent months. The Supreme Court appointed a judge from DuPage County to preside over the battery trial of Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim in November.