Vanecko special prosecutor goes pro bono
Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew Richard Vanecko, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday with his lawyer Marc Martin, right, after his arraignment on the charge of involuntary manslaughter for the death of David Koschman in the Rush Street nightlife district in 2004. Vanecko pleaded not guilty. (Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / December 10, 2012)
Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case last spring, will no longer bill Cook County for attorney fees after Dec. 31, 2012, and will move forward with the case pro-bono, according to a statement from Office of the Chief Judge Timothy Evans.
Any future bills will be limited to requests for reimbursement for reasonable expenses, the statement said. It was not immediately known how much money already had been spent on legal fees.
Vanecko was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman in a drunken confrontation on the city’s Near North Side in 2004, police said.
Last month, a special Cook County grand jury found that Vanecko "recklessly performed acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another" in Koschman’s death, according to the indictment.
Koschman, 21, had been drinking in the Rush Street night life district early on April 25, 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. He died 11 days later.
Webb noted that at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Vanecko towered over Koschman, who was about 5-foot-5 and 125 pounds. There is no statute of limitations on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Judge Michael Toomin said that he was made aware that Webb has notified the Cook County Board that as of January 1, 2013, the work of the attorneys and staff comprising the Office of the Special Prosecutor will proceed on a pro bono basis, the statement said.
Toomin appointed Webb as the special prosecutor in the Koschman investigation on April 23, 2012, and reviews all bills submitted by the special prosecutor in the matter and enters orders for payment by the Cook County Board, the statement said.
Webb’s team of deputy special prosecutors is made up of partners and associates in the Winston & Strawn law firm, along with support personnel, who work out of the firm’s Chicago office, according to the statement.