McHenry County judge tapped for Daley's nephew's case

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 now been assigned to the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which serves McHenry County.

Chief Judge Michael J. Sullivan will now 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 when he would need to select the judge by and declined to speculate on 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 that the need for a judge from another circuit happens regularly between McHenry County and counties like 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 is also 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.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.