Ex-Joliet Teacher Michael Kazecki Learns Whether His Lawyer Can Stay
Ex-Joliet Teacher Michael Kazecki Learns Whether His Lawyer Can Stay

Ex-Joliet Teacher Michael Kazecki Learns Whether His Lawyer Can Stay

JOLIET, IL — August will mark six years since the Joliet Police Department took Michael Kazecki into custody on first-degree murder charges in the beating death of his wife, Becky, who also taught for Joliet Public School District 86. Over the past six years, Kazecki has continued to avoid standing trial, through the efforts of his hired private defense counsel, Nathaniel Tate, of the downtown Joliet law offices of Edward Jaquays.

This week, one pretrial legal hurdle was cleared up. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office lost its petition to have Tate disqualified as Michael Kazecki’s criminal defense lawyer, after arguing Tate was trying to turn himself into a trial witness for his client’s case.

In the end, Will County Judge Daniel Rippy, after reviewing the evidence presented by both sides, ruled in favor of the Joliet murder defendant, who now lives with family in Oak Lawn. The judge ruled Tate can remain on the case as lead counsel for Michael Kazecki.

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And now that the motion to disqualify counsel has been resolved, the judge can return his attention to making a decision on the upcoming suppression of evidence hearing. That issue has been in the news since Joliet Patch first wrote about it last October — seven months ago.

The motion to suppress Michael Kazecki’s interview statements to Joliet police detective Dave Jackson and others is now set for May 21 in Courtroom 402 of Judge Rippy.

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According to court documents, on Aug. 6, 2018, while Becky Kazecki was being treated for head trauma at St. Joe’s hospital, Joliet Police Detective Dave Jackson spoke with Michael Kazecki at the hospital, and he agreed to go with Jackson to the Joliet police station “to explain what happened to Rebecca. After being advised of his Miranda rights by Detective Jackson, defendant made statements regarding what happened to Rebecca. Subsequently, defendant was arrested and on August 8, 2018, the defendant was charged with the murder of Rebecca.”

Five years and two months later, attorney Tate filed a motion to suppress the statements given by his client to Joliet police.

“Nathaniel Tate alleges that he, counsel, responded to the police station where defendant was being interviewed on August 7, 2018, and was denied access to the defendant,” court records show. “Counsel further asserts that he advised members of the police department that the defendant’s family had retained him and that the detectives’ subsequent failure to advise the defendant of that fact … rendered the defendant’s refusal of counsel representation involuntary and unknowing.”

According to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office of Jim Glasgow, in addition to three counts of first-degree murder, Michael Kazecki is charged with domestic battery in the beating death of his wife, Becky.

The beating happened over three days, Aug. 4-6, 2018, court records indicate.

“The People expect the evidence will show that on August 6, 2018, the defendant called 911 to report that Rebecca Kazecki was unresponsive in their Joliet home. After paramedics arrived at the scene, Rebecca was transported to the hospital where she later died from her injuries,” Will County prosecutors outlined in March. “After completion of an autopsy, a forensic pathologist concluded that Rebecca had cerebral injuries caused by blunt force trauma due to assault.”

After agreeing to go with Detective Jackson to the Joliet police station and “being advised of his Miranda rights by Detective Jackson, defendant made statements regarding what happened to Rebecca. Subsequently, defendant was arrested and on August 8, 2018, defendant was charged with the murder of Rebecca,” prosecutors explained.

According to assistant state’s attorney Erin Krone, “counsel for the defendant, Nathaniel Tate, is both advocate and witness in the case. The sole legal ground raised in the pending motion to suppress the defendant’s statements filed by counsel stems from counsel’s arrival at the Joliet Police Department and the conversation that ensued between counsel and the officers at the Joliet Police Department.

“It is expected that at least one officer will testify contradictorily to some of the factual assertions in the written motion to suppress statements … Finally, the rule itself specifically allows for the law firm itself to continue in advocating for the defendant and allows counsel, Nathaniel Tate, to assist in their advocation, though not as attorney of record in court,” Krone’s argument explained. “Consequently, the disqualification of Nathaniel Tate from the case, while inconvenient, cannot be deemed to work a ‘substantial hardship’ to the defendant.”

Although Krone asked Judge Rippy to “disqualify Nathaniel Tate as counsel for the defendant,” this week’s ruling from Judge Rippy did not go in the State’s Attorney’s favor and Tate will remain on the case, as Kazecki’s lead counsel, as the former Joliet Washington Junior High School teacher’s murder case proceeds in Courtroom 402.

For now, Kazecki’s first-degree murder case does not have a trial date on Judge Rippy’s courtroom calendar.

Related Joliet Patch coverage:

Joliet Teacher’s Homicide: Did Police Violate Husband’s Rights?

District 86 Teacher’s Murder Trial Taken Off Judge Rippy’s Calendar

Joliet Teacher Slaying 5 Years Ago, Husband’s Trial 6 Months Away

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