McHenry County judge picked for Vanecko case

McHenry County Judge Maureen P. McIntyre was selected today to 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.

McIntyre is currently the presiding judge of the court's Family Division, hearing mostly cases of juvenile abuse and neglect, delinquency, and adoption.

Sullivan announced the appointment of McIntyre in a one-page order released this afternoon.

McIntyre was retained by voters in November to a six-year term. She has been on the bench in McHenry County since 1996.

Dan Wallace, administrator of the McHenry County Circuit Court, told the Tribune on Thursday that whichever judge was selected 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

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.

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