What's Up With Sealing The RJ Vanecko Files?

What's Up With Sealing The RJ Vanecko Files?
RJ Vanecko Mug Shot

I Think the people are entitled to know - What's Up With Sealing The RJ Vanecko Files?

From the get go it seems as if everyone and their political mother's have been trying to protect Richard RJ Vanecko, the nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. And from everything that has been published to date - they have done one hell of a bang up job in trying to prevent arrest and subsequent prosecution. Then we get a supposed independent investigator in Dan K. Webb who found enough cause to indict Vanecko and as we head for trial he requests that files pertaining to a taxpayer funded report be kept sealed.

Well it is pretty obvious isn't it? The powers that be (and I suspect that might even include an independent prosecutor) are doing all they can to prevent the truth - and I mean the whole truth - from coming out. And I have to tell you it is shameful as hell as is Webb's contention that a statute of limitations has passed for some.

You see I am not sure if that is true or not because if there was a conspiracy that involved public officials or public employees in an effort to hinder a prosecution, well statutes of limitations do not apply from what I have been able to ascertain from various legal sites but even that will vary from state to state.

I am also sure that RJ Vanecko's kin, Kevin and Bridgette Higgins McCarthy should have been indicted for their roles in hindering the original investigation when they lied to responding police officers. And what about Craig Denham who took off to another bar after the incident left another human being in a coma before he died days later? Did they enjoy their drinks as they probably called family members with clout?

As I have said before - thank goodness the Chicago Sun-Times have stayed on top of this travesty of justice with their expose'. And it was because of that coverage, that I was compelled to write as much as I have about something I have long known - it seems as if we have all become anesthetized when it comes to the double standards accorded the politically connected and wealthy in the City of Chicago but as I have also said many times before - if this were regular people, or worse a black man, that did what RJ Vanecko allegedly did they wouldn't have been allowed to move on with their lives and/or disappear off to California because those suckers would have been in jail with charges filed almost immediately.

And what about Anita Alvarez and a Cook County State's Attorney's Office that has been notorious in prosecuting people of lesser means and letting them rot in the system until the truth ultimately came out that they may have been coerced into confession by a mad dog detective Jon Burge and/or other dirty cops who get off by abusing their power? Pretty strange how this office once run by Alvarez and her former mentors Richard M. Daley and Dick Devine operates. One thing is certain though - it is not on the side of everyday people.

Not with their double standards and/or class warfare tactics!

So here's the deal Cook County Circuit Judge Michael P. Toomin - do the right damn thing here and release the Investigation Report by Special Prosecutor Dan K. Webb and instruct him that the hindrance of an investigation does not grant anyone immunity from a statute of limitations if it  involves public officials involved in the investigation in the homicide of David Koschman. So let's stop the bullshit right here and now shall we?

The People Are Watching.

Besides enough is enough is enough already!

Unless of course officials really do want class warfare?

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  • You should figure that I would say there were several legally confused statements above.
    1. Grand jury files are usually secret. This is a motion to open them, and the judge said he would rule on it. He hasn't yet.
    2. Only a defendant can waive a statute of limitations, a prosecutor doesn't have that power. Maybe you can get the legislature to extend it, but good luck getting anything out of the legislature.
    3. Any obstruction of justice, while prosecutable, still has to be within the statute of limitations. They only way the Feds got Burge was that he lied at a deposition in a civil case in the 2000s, not for anything he did in the 1980s.
    4. There still is the concern whether Vanecko gets a fair trial. After the trial, the report on what others did who did not get prosecuted will probably be released.

    Besides that:
    Remember, Mrs. Koschman and apparently you were satisfied with Webb as the special prosecutor. I wasn't.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack I figured you would weigh in on this but I don't think this is about Grand Jury files as it is about his investigative report that concludes his fact-finding. So I am not sure that that report is bound by Grand Jury rules.

    As for the Statutes of limitations, I have done some extensive reading on this of late and it appears that if an elected official or public employee perjures themselves in an effort to hinder and/or suppress a prosecution they may be indicted. The fact that files went missing and the people it points to is Dan Devine and Anita Alvarez in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office as well as police investigation files went missing and had comments redacted after they reappeared at the Chicago Police Department tells me there was a cover-up. http://www.suntimes.com/18849909-761/lost-files-in-daley-nephew-case-removed-then-mysteriously-returned.html

    Seems to me, then, there is immunity or statutes issue. They should be indicted and at this point, after all the b.s. that we get on with it. This was a gross miscarriage of justice as well as a classic case of official malfeasance. Even local legal scholars weighed in early on this case that files of this kind just don't go missing. Especially from the State's Attorney's Office. This case should be picked up by the US Attorney in Northern District. It is time to stop the double standard going on in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

    As for Vanecko getting a fair trial - well I suspect it will be as fair as any other controversial case if tried here. Perhaps they can take it to another County Circuit if they are worried. Not like it hasn't been done before right? But I don't think there is much question that at the very least Vanecko is guilty of involuntary manslaughter and that his kin folk perjured themselves. And they should pay a price for it and walk away with a slap on the wrist because he is a Daley. Besides he already had one gimme in Michigan?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    1. The investigation was by or before a grand jury. So, it is a grand jury file. Even the Sun-Times article said "Webb told Toomin Thursday he’s also concerned about the possibility of releasing secret grand jury testimony." Of course, other than that, the Sun-Times mischaracterizes it as a special prosecutor's report rather than a grand jury report. Channel 5 properly said it was a grand jury report (link in separate post).

    2. The issue with Devine or Alvarez is prosecutorial immunity. The criminal side is not as clear as the civil, but but basically prosecutors have immunity for tasks within the scope of their office. A prosecutor saying "I don't have enough evidence" is acting within the scope of that office. While they are hashing out the issue with some special prosecutor in Lake County, civil allegations against Richie Daley as States Attorney were thrown out in the Burge matter for this reason. That's also no different than the Florida sheriff saying "I would have arrested the bullying girl's parents if I had something on which to bring charges." The sheriff may not then be prosecuted for doing his duty.

    3. On the fair trial points:

    a. The Cook County judges disqualified themselves because they were associated with Daley, and a judge from McHenry County was assigned. Tribune.

    b. The underlying point is that the trial could be prejudiced if prosecutorial matter is released before trial, and certainly before a jury is selected. In a sense, you sound like the Doonesbury in the 1970s with Mark Slackmeyer saying "We know he's Guilty Guilty Guilty" with regard to John Mitchell. However, the court system doesn't work that way. The prosecutors never proved that R. Kelly peed on that girl, even though the press said he did, for instance.

    4. I said that someone could be prosecuted for perjury or obstruction of justice, but only within the statute of limitations. See what I said above about Burge.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack I thought they were two different events; a Grand Jury was convened and they established there was enough cause to proceed with an indictment vs a more rigorous 17 month investigation into the actions of the other parties.

    Matter of fact, one can construe by Webb's comments that he found the case had been tampered with but that statues of limitations now protect them and I don't think I am the only one who walked away with that impression.

    And that then goes to the heart of the matter as it relates to the CPD and Cook County State's Attorney's Office and I think Webb could have turned that over to the Fed's because that is where I found that Public Officials and Servants would lose those protections if they knowingly went beyond their "scope of office."

    Okay maybe I am Doonesbury-like here but I don't believe what happened between the CPD and CCSA was for lack of evidence (and thus covered by that scope of office) as it was making sure evidence wouldn't see the light of day. So I think these are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT things my friend and I will stick with that conclusion. This was a travesty and it becomes very apparent to me that on that fateful night the wagons circled clout.

    And someone, other than RJ Vanecko should answer for their actions. As for the judges - even the judge from McHenry had ties back to the Daley's. What a mess! But that is why the Feds should have handled this because even Webb has ties to Daley.

    And yes Jack, I realize the Justice System doesn't work that way (although I doubt Drew Peterson's Hearsay Law substantiates that) but come on something happened here and it went way beyond the scope of office or lack of evidence. Again should have been turned over to the Fed's because they would have put it into the right scope (as like how Burge was eventually convicted).

    As it is right now, the average moke on the street should fear the so-called justice system in Cook County; there is a double standard and I think that has become very clear over the years.

    So sorry, nothing changes my mind here.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    NBC 5 reference.

    In any event, Webb would not have subpoena power; he would have had to use a grand jury.

  • In reply to jack:

    Like I said he could have turned it over to the Fed's where I think it belongs.

  • Since Webb worked for the feds--"As the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, he spearheaded the “Operation Greylord” investigations into judicial corruption in Cook County, Ill." according to the Winston & Strawn website---and was in federal court defending Ryan, I'm sure that if he had anything to turn over to the feds, he would have done so.

    It also says that while doing an investigation of the NYSE, he turned over Richard Grasso to the NY AG, again cited by me only for the point that he should know how to turn something over.

  • In reply to jack:

    Unless, of course, he too is blinded by loyalty.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    There has to be a limit to these procedural things. People wanted a special prosecutor, they got one, and those who counted were satisfied with Webb. People also got another judge, who says she has no connection with the case. Do we now need another special prosecutor to look into this special prosecutor?

    Besides that, the FBI could investigate directly if it thought there was a federal crime. Cases like Ryan and Blago were not referred to the FBI or U.S. Attorney by Lisa Madigan.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack I get what you are saying but I think you miss one important thing (well actually two), first I said from the earliest post that we must keep an eye on what Webb ultimately did (and now that concern seems to be playing out) second - yes judges were replaced you are right but simply replacing one that had ties to Daley with another does not make it equitable. And I think we are all getting wise to this scam in this case.

    As for the FBI, you know as well as I they usually will not overstep on what they deem a local case and that is what this began as. But I could see them following it as Daley and his kin have been in their cross-hairs anyway with how money moved around this pristine town called Chicago.

    So hey, I enjoy when you play Devils Advocate but I think you as well as every legal scholar who has sounded off on this case know something very wrong has been going on here. Pray you never get screwed over like Ms. Koschman has or that this same sort of shit doesn't happen to you or your kin.

    So I remain firm.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Sure, lots of victims get screwed, but on the other hand you don't see anyone else get this kind of legal attention for bouncing someone else's head off the sidewalk in arguable self defense (in the sense of both a special prosecutor and a new judge, which, it has not been established has any ties to Daley, and she denied it).

    Anyway, Flint Taylor, representing Mrs. Koschman, hasn't said anything publicly about Webb being part of a conspiracy, just that he and Bowman would rather that the report come out. That seems the reasonable extent of that.

    I'm not playing devil's advocate (other than both of us have the urge to reply to everything), just pointing out that what you want isn't legally permissible to get. Maybe in 6 months the report gets out and the media hounds a couple of people out of office, but there isn't going to be a waiver of the statute of limitations or an investigation into Webb whether he became part of the cover up.

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