The cook county judge in the Richard Vanecko case has stepped down due to his ties to former Mayor Richard Daley. Vanecko is Daley's nephew and faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of David Koschman.
“I am ready and able to handle this case, but in an abundance of caution, I am recusing myself from further proceedings,” Judge Arthur Hill, who was randomly assigned to the case, said in court today.
Judge Michael Toomin, who put a special prosecutor on task to investigate the case, agreed with arguments by prosecutors that the trial needs a judge that is not from Cook County, stating that although he knows that there are Cook County judges who would be fair, there are "perceptions that have nonetheless pervaded this case.” He is sending the case to Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, who could, in turn, give the Illinois Supreme Court the final decision in the case.
If convicted, Vanecko could face up to five years in prison.