According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cook County States Attorney, Anita Alvarez says there is not enough evidence to charge Richard "RJ" Vanecko in David Koschman's death. Meanwhile, Alvarez' former law professor, Richard Kling, has previously said that he would have filed murder or involuntary manslaughter charges seven years ago.
Another well known criminal defense lawyer, G. Flint Taylor, who successfully sued the City of Chicago in the Jon Burge case, said if a black man were implicated under similar circumstances he would have been charged.
"It seems to me there's a real possibility of a massive police cover-up here," said Taylor. "If this person were a normal citizen, particularly an African-American person and not the nephew of the mayor of Chicago, he would have been indicted on a variety of charges - if not murder, involuntary manslaughter."
"Maybe there needs to be a special prosecutor," Taylor said. U.S. Attorney "Patrick Fitzgerald's office should look into this."
When Anita Alvarez was elected, I felt that she would not only do a good job but that she was somehow a cut above the usual political game-playing that occurs in the Cook County legal system. Double standards do exist and I totally agree with G. Flint Taylor that if this case involved an African-American or Hispanic there would have been charges filed. However, I won't go beyond that though, in terms of those charges "sticking" or not. As we all know, plea deals are as common as people change their underwear.
We would be remiss, though, if we didn't remember that Anita Alvarez has been in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for over two decades. She began her career under, then, State's Attorney Richard M. Daley and gradually worked her way up to chief of staff under, then State's Attorney Richard Devine. Devine has been a longtime friend of the Daley family and I am more than concerned that the Vanecko felony case files "disappeared under his watch." I don't have to tell you how bad that looks and that speaks for itself.
We must also not forget that Richard Devine currently represents "RJ" Vanecko's older brother, Robert, in a lawsuit involving the management, or allegedly the mismanagement, of five city pension funds worth $68 million. That, by the way, is the deal that Mayor Richard M. Daley somehow wasn't aware of? Richie II seems to think that regular people are hatched instead of being born, but, I think everyone knows that there isn't a damn thing that goes on in the City of Chicago that he doesn't know about. So far as him having the confidence in his underlings to do their jobs go, all that ever meant to me was that he will let out the rope until someone hung themselves.
Anyone thinking that this case doesn't need a fresh investigation is obviously over-looking the inconsistencies. But, I certainly would not allow the politically connected to investigate the politically connected any longer either. As I stated in a previous post, there needs to be a federal prosecutor assigned to this case and given the reputation of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, he would be the appropriate one to handle this. Fitzgerald is already despised, and feared by politicians here, as well as in the White House. Patrick J. Fitzgerald has more integrity in his toenail, than any of the politicians that hail from Chicago and/or Illinois. While I am sure that he wants to advance his career and eventually get out of Chicago, the fact remains that he has been the lone bright star in combating the political corruption around here.
The first aspect of this case that should be re-reviewed is the conflicting testimony of the two "unbiased bystanders." I believe that needs to be sorted out. Philip Kohler, who had been out drinking with a co-worker, Michael Connolly, had contradicted his drinking partners account of the events. Kohler has claimed that David Koschman charged into Vanecko's group, while Connolly said that he had not been physically aggressive. Also, and most important, Kohler had originally told the police that he didn't know anyone in Koschman's or Vanecko's group. That, however, turned out to be very inaccurate by his own admission. Philip Kohler and "RJ" Vanecko had been high school classmates at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, as well as teammates on the freshman wrestling team. I don't know about you, even though I may not remember every classmate of mine, I certainly remember everyone who was ever a teammate of mine.
In addition to the contradicting testimony of Kohler and Connolly, we also had the other two people who were in Vanecko's drinking group that night. Kevin and Bridget McCarthy. Those two were originally detained by police after the incident, but, they told officers that "they didn't know the two men who had run off." That, of course, is one monstrous curiosity since the two men were "RJ" Vanecko and Craig Denham and all four had been out drinking together as a group that night! What the fu$k was that all about? And why wasn't that used against them as accessory's after the fact?
As I asked in a previous post, why did "RJ" Vanecko and Craig Denham even run if claims of self-defense were claimed? In my mind, the most damning thing is the fact that they not only ran but grabbed a cab while fleeing to another bar. That just leads me to believe that it was time to get the cobwebs out of their heads and coordinate their story. Then again, if you add up all those inconsistencies - Kohler's mistaken statement that he didn't know Vaneko and the McCarthy's assertions that they didn't know the men that ran, well doesn't that all sound all too neat and tidy? I also happen to believe that any competent investigator would have erred on the side of justice and let a Grand Jury determine if the facts warranted an indictment or not. However, that didn't happen. If we add in the altered appearance of "RJ" at a "much delayed police lineup" and a "missing felony case file" this investigation begins to look like nothing more than a big cover-up. I believe that constitutes a conspiracy?
So, if Anita Alverez really believes that there isn't a shred of "reasonable doubt" given all these inconsistencies, and others - then I am not so sure that a long history of cozy political relationships inside the Cook County State's Attorney's Office didn't have something to do with that final decision. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I am not the only person that feels that way either.
I have to stand by my original opinion that something just doesn't smell right here!
I also believe that Patrick J. Fitzgerald must get to the bottom of this.