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Judge from McHenry County will try Daley nephew

WOODSTOCK –A McHenry County judge will preside over the involuntary manslaughter case of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew.

Earlier this week, Cook County’s chief judge asked the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint a judge from outside the county to handle the case of Richard Vanecko, 38.

David Koschman died days after he fell and struck his head during a fight with Vanecko outside a bar in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Vanecko has pleaded not guilty.

On Friday, the court handed down an order stating that the case has been assigned to the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which serves McHenry County.

Chief Judge Michael J. Sullivan will determine which judge will be assigned to the case.

Sullivan said he became aware that the case would have a McHenry County judge Thursday evening and received the paperwork over the noon hour on Friday.

He said was unsure of when he would need to select the judge and declined to speculate about whom he might pick.

“I will be having some conversations with the folks in Cook County to find out more about the matter,” he said.

Typically, when a judge from another circuit is requested, the new judge will travel, although some minor hearings or procedures could be in McHenry County.

“The case is being sent out here from the standpoint of an out-of-county judge,” Sullivan said. “It’s a substitution of a judge, not a change of venue, which is a different process.”

Sullivan said the need for a judge from another circuit happens regularly between McHenry County and counties such as Lake and Kane, but it’s a more unusual request from Cook.

“I’ve been presiding judge since 1992, with a couple years’ exception, and I don’t recall either us sending a judge into Cook County or one coming here during that period of time,” he said.

Vanecko is charged in Koschman’s 2004 death. But the same special grand jury that indicted Vanecko also is investigating whether authorities covered up or impeded the investigation into the Koschman’s death because of Vanecko’s relationship to the powerful Daley.

In a letter to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, Judge Timothy Evans wrote that another judge had, upon the request of attorneys for the special prosecutor, agreed that an outside judge should be appointed to avoid any “appearance of impropriety.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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