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McHenry County Judge To Be Assigned To Vanecko Trial

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2012 8:00PM

The Chicago Police Department's booking photo of Richard "RJ" Vanecko.
The Illinois Supreme Court ordered the chief judge of McHenry County to appoint one of his judges to preside over the upcoming trial of Richard “RJ” Vanecko in the 2004 death of David Koschman.

Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride signed the order Friday. Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans asked the Supreme Court to assign a judge from outside Cook County earlier this week to avoid any “appearance of impropriety” in the case. Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, is accused of throwing the punch that killed Koschman eight years ago, but was never charged in connection with Koschman’s death. McHenry County Chief Judge Michael J. Sullivan will appoint a judge from the 22nd Judicial Circuit to hear the case.

Last week 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 Daley when he was Cook County State’s Attorney. Prosecutors in the case asked for the appointment of an outside judge, claiming finding a judge in Cook County with ties to the Daleys would be hard to find, if not impossible. Judge Michael P. Toomin, who appointed attorney Dan Webb as special prosecutor in the Koschman investigation, agreed and referred the matter to Evans.

Illinois Supreme Court Order to Appoint Outside Judge in Richard Vanecko Trial