Will County judge tosses ex-judge’s jail release order in Joliet Outlaws murder case

Jeremy Boshears, 36, sits in the courtroom during his trial. Boshears is charged with the murder of Kaitlyn “Katie” Kearns, 24, on Nov. 13, 2017. Monday, April 25, 2022, in Joliet.

A new detention hearing was held for a man charged with murder after a Will County judge determined a retired judge failed to follow requirements under a provision of the SAFE-T Act when allowing the man’s jail release.

On Thursday, Will County Judge Jessica Colón-Sayre vacated a court order from former Judge Dave Carlson that allowed the pretrial release of Jeremy Boshears, 39, of Coal City. Boshears stands charged for a second time with first-degree murder and concealment of a woman’s homicide at the Joliet Outlaws clubhouse.

Colón-Sayre determined Carlson failed to make findings on whether there was clear and convincing evidence that Boshears committed the offenses he’s charged with, posed a threat to others and was a flight risk.

Prosecutors said those findings must be made in accordance with a provision of the SAFE-T Act – called the Pretrial Fairness Act – to allow for meaningful appellate reviews.

Colón-Sayre said while the changes to the legal system brought on by the SAFE-T Act posed a challenge for Carlson, judges still have to follow the law and provide a record that allows for appeals by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

“We have to have a meaningful review,” Colón-Sayre said.

During Thursday’s court hearing, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka cited a appellate decision on Tuesday that reversed Carlson’s detention ruling on another case.

Because Carlson repeatedly refused to make the required findings under the Pretrial Fairness Act, the appellate court recommended another judge hold a new detention hearing for that case. But Carlson is no longer on the bench.

Judge Dave Carlson speaks at a hearing of Joseph Czuba at the Will County Courthouse on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023 in Joliet. Joseph Czuba, 71, was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and and attempting to kill his mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, on Oct. 14 at a Plainfield Township residence.

Colón-Sayre’s decision Thursday led to a yet another detention hearing for Boshears. Both sides made their case at length over the issue of whether Boshears deserved pretrial release.

Colón-Sayre may decide Monday whether she will let Boshears out of jail.

Boshears’ attorney, Chuck Bretz, objected to prosecutors’ request to vacate Carlson’s April 29 court order. Bretz said Carlson’s ruling did satisfy one required finding for pretrial release by determining conditions existed to mitigate concerns with possible flight risk or danger.

Bretz said it was his preference that Carlson would have made all the findings required under the Pretrial Fairness Act. At one point during Thursday’s hearing, Bretz further remarked on Carlson’s ruling, saying, “I wouldn’t have handled things that way.”

Carlson resisted ruling on Boshears’ pretrial release because he had been the judge in Boshears’ 2022 jury trial. The jury convicted him of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death.

But the issue of Boshears’ pretrial release was brought to the foreground after Carlson granted Boshears a second trial earlier this year.

At an April 24 hearing, Carlson said the SAFE-T Act “eviscerated the judiciary when it comes to making decisions about people,” according to court transcripts.

Carlson said if Boshears’ family posted 10% of his $10 million bond, that would be a “whole bunch of eyes and ears that watch people” when they have a “vested interest” in making sure their “money doesn’t go somewhere.”

“We don’t have that option anymore,” Carlson said.

Although the option to post a money bond still exists for defendants such as Boshears who were detained before cashless bail went into effect Sept. 18, 2023.

Carlson lamented state officials telling judges to “follow their rules,” which were “made by people who have never sat in a courtroom, made by people who have never made decisions, quite frankly, about anything other than political things,” Carlson said.

“And now I have to participate in their academic endeavor,” Carlson said.

While Carlson promised to “follow those rules,” prosecutors said he refused to do so when ordering Boshears’ release from jail April 29.