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Vanecko Attorneys Want Manslaughter Charge Dropped

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 26, 2013 10:10PM

2013_10_17_vanecko_prettyview.jpg Attorneys for Richard “RJ” Vanecko have asked that involuntary manslaughter charges against their client be withdrawn and they’ve taken a “see what sticks” approach to their request.

The Sun-Times reports Vanecko’s attorneys Thomas Breen, Terence Gillespie and Marc Martin claim the following:

  • Friends of David Koschman lied about the circumstances that led to his 2004 death.
  • Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Toomin overstepped his authority when he appointed attorney Dan Webb as the special prosecutor in the investigation that resulted in Vanecko’s 2012 indictment in Koschman’s death.
  • The grand jury process was tainted because Toomin allowed Webb to let jurors meet at the offices of Webb’s firm, Winston & Strawn, instead of at the Cook County Courthouse.
  • The media went on a “crusade” that almost guarantees Vanecko won’t receive a fair trial.
  • The only authority to have brought charges against Vanecko was Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Let’s start with Alvarez, shall we? One of the reasons Toomin appointed Webb special prosecutor in this investigation was because Alvarez was—let’s be generous and say “reticent”—to bring charges against Vanecko even after her 2011 reinvestigation of the case determined Vanecko threw the punch that resulted in Koschman’s death.

In fact, a convincing case could be made that Alvarez ran interference the entire way. She reportedly blocked an investigation by Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard into how she handled the Koschman case by claiming her office is a branch of the state government and out of Blanchard’s jurisdiction; repeatedly said there was no need for a special prosecutor; denied a conflict of interest in the case even though her career at the State’s Attorney’s office began when Vanecko’s uncle, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, was her boss; and only turned over documents related to the case to attorneys representing Koschman’s mother Nanci because Toomin ordered her.

Breen, Gillespie and Martin wrote in their filing the only reason Webb was appointed special prosecutor “was the Sun-Times’s insistence on it.” While the Sun-Times made reopening the Koschman investigation a priority, it was Toomin who said “the system failed David Koschman” when he ruled in favor of appointing a special prosecutor. Remember these words from Toomin.

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

Given how deep the Daley political dynasty’s roots run in all facets of Cook County government we’re surprised Vanecko is still set to go to trial in February and that a McHenry County judge is set to oversee the trial. Webb filed a separate motion with Judge Maureen P. McIntyre asking that Vanecko not be allowed to testify about the original 2004 investigation and the 2011 reinvestigation, or else allow him to testify about the “flawed nature” of the investigations that set in motion the chain of events resulting in Vanecko’s indictment.