2nd man charged in Ottawa home invasion challenges hot mic

Boaz awaits June 21 ruling in home invasion case

Michael A. Boaz Jr.

Prosecutors said Michael Boaz was caught on tape discussing a break-in that appeared to match a November home invasion on Ottawa’s south side. But did he know he was being recorded?

Boaz, 21, of Ottawa will learn June 21 whether the taped conversation will be used against him. If Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. rules that the tape is inadmissible in court, it could undercut his charge of home invasion. Boaz faces a mandatory trip to prison if convicted.

At a Friday hearing in La Salle County Circuit Court, Boaz largely adopted the arguments raised earlier this week by Fernando Martinez, 21, of Ottawa, who also was charged in the home invasion.

Martinez and Boaz said the recording is inadmissible because it violated their rights to privacy. On Friday, Public Defender Ryan Hamer said not only did the recording violate Boaz’s right, but he also might not have known he was under surveillance.

Hamer called Brandie Smith, a resident of Buchanan Street in Ottawa, who had testified earlier that she not only knew of but also approved of the installation of her neighbor’s security cameras. She even asked to have one trained on her house.

But during Boaz’s hearing, Smith revealed something new: She didn’t know the neighbor’s apparently sensitive microphones could pick up sounds from inside her enclosed porch. Smith said she was surprised to learn that a call she placed was recorded by her neighbor’s surveillance system.

“You understood that conversation to be private?” Hamer said.

“Yes,” Smith said.

Smith had testified that all occupants and visitors were told the camera facing her home was hot.

“Who else knew that [the] cameras were recording audio and video?” Assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney Matt Kidder said.

“I told every single person who came into that driveway they were on audio and video,” Smith said.

Did that include Michael Boaz?

“I don’t recall,” Smith said. By her count, Boaz had visited her home three times.

That may color Ryan’s ruling. Boaz not knowing about the surveillance could be grounds to suppress the video in his case.

Have a Question about this article?