Judge recuses over defense motion to use IG report in Joliet murder case

Judge Dave Carlson listens as defense attorney Chuck Bretz gives opening comments. Boshears is charged with the murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, on Nov. 13, 2017. Thursday, April 14, 2022, in Joliet.

Another judge will decide whether a defense attorney in a Joliet murder case can cross examine a detective over a City of Joliet inspector general report alleging there was a conspiracy against the mayor.

On Monday, Judge Dave Carlson decided to recuse himself in light of the defense motion filed by Jeff Tomczak, attorney for Dartavius Payton, 27, who is facing a charge of first-degree murder over the slaying of 20-year-old Todd Taylor in 2020.

Tomczak filed a motion last week to cross examine Joliet Police Detective Jeff German, one of the investigators in Payton’s case, over a report from Joliet’s Inspector General Sean Connolly. The report alleged retired Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner and others conspired against Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

Because of Tomczak’s motion, Carlson said he will recuse himself because his girlfriend, Sabrina Spano, works as a corporation counsel for the City of Joliet, and he wanted to avoid any conflict of interest in the matter.

“I generally try to avoid any of it,” Carlson said of the city’s politics.

Payton’s case was sent to Will County Chief Judge Dan Kennedy, who then reassigned it to Judge Vincent Cornelius. Payton’s case is slated for another hearing on Tuesday.

Connolly’s report found no fault with German in what Connolly alleged was a conspiracy by Roechner and others to file a false police report against O’Dekirk.

Connolly recommended criminal charges against Roechenr and his former deputy chief, Marc Reid, for their role in the conspiracy to pressure a former city councilman, Don “Duck” Dickinson, into filing a false police report against O’Dekirk.

Tomczak alleged in a motion filed in Payton’s case that German, in cooperation with Roechner and Reid, had participated in a “conspiracy to falsify evidence, deceive and obstruct” the Illinois State Police investigation into the Dickinson incident.

Tomczak is seeking to cross examine German on the Connolly report.

Tomczak’s motion alleged the report “raise the reasonable inference that [German’s] testimony might be influenced by interest, bias or motive to testify favorably for the People to avoid arrest, prosecutions or disciplinary actions.”

Based the reports from Connolly and Illinois State Police, German’s only role in the incident was to perform a forensic extraction of Dickinson’s phone at the direction of Reid.

Connolly’s report said Reid had selected what information from Dickinson’s phone he wanted to submit to state police and never turned over the phone to them.