McHenry County's chief judge is expected to reveal today which judge will preside over the politically charged involuntary manslaughter trial of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's nephew.
Michael Sullivan, chief judge of McHenry County Circuit Court, was tasked with naming a judge from his circuit last month after the Cook County judge originally picked to preside over the case stepped aside because of connections to Daley.
At the request of the special prosecutor who brought the charge against Richard Vanecko, Cook County's chief judge asked the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint a judge from outside the county to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The state's highest court asked Sullivan last month to select a judge on his court to oversee the trial.
Sullivan will announce his choice at 2 p.m. today, according to Dan Wallis, the administrator of the McHenry County Circuit Court.
Wallis said today that the judge will travel to Cook County to preside over the criminal case against Vanecko, who was indicted in the 2004 death of David Koschman after a quarrel in the Rush Street bar district.
McHenry County has only two judges who regularly hear felony cases, Sharon Prather, chief of the criminal division, and Judge Gordon Graham. Two other judges, Charles Weech and Michael Feetterer, also hear criminal cases, though they typically handle misdemeanors. Sullivan told the Tribune last month that he would consult with the judges in his circuit “to find somebody we believe is suitable."
Koschman, 21, of Mount Prospect, had been drinking in the Rush Street night life district early on April 24, 2004, when he and friends quarreled with a group that included Vanecko. During the altercation, Koschman was knocked to the street, hitting the back of his head on the pavement.
He died 11 days later.
Last year, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed veteran attorney Dan Webb as special prosecutor after an investigative series by the Chicago Sun-Times raised questions about whether authorities intentionally concealed evidence for political reasons.
In announcing the indictment against Vanecko in December, Webb said a special grand jury continued to probe how police and prosecutors handled the original investigation.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun