Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Judge Charged with Helping Man Evade Immigration Agent
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
April 26, 2019

Share

BOSTON — A Massachusetts judge was indicted Thursday on charges that she helped a man who was living in the U.S. illegally sneak out a back door of the courthouse to evade a waiting immigration enforcement agent.
Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph and former court officer Wesley MacGregor were charged with obstruction of justice based on accusations that they schemed to let the man escape after a hearing last year on charges that included drug possession.
The charges against Joseph and MacGregor were swiftly condemned in a statement from the state’s attorney general, who called the case “a radical and politically-motivated attack” on the courts by federal authorities.

Immigration Arrests at Courthouses Draw Criticism

Lawyers, judges and advocates have criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for stepping up immigration arrests at courthouses, saying it is disrupting the criminal justice system and scaring people away from halls of justice.
Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said the charges were not meant to send a message about immigration policy. He said everyone must be held to the rule of law, even the privileged and powerful.
“From certain corners I have heard the occasional gasp of dismay or outrage at the notion of holding a judge accountable for violating federal law,” Lelling said. “But if the law is not applied equally, it cannot credibly be applied to anyone.”
Joseph, 51, and MacGregor, 56, pleaded not guilty during brief appearances in Boston federal court. Joseph appeared to fight back tears as she left the courthouse.
“This prosecution is absolutely political. Shelley Joseph is absolutely innocent,” her attorney, Thomas Hoopes, told reporters.
An email seeking comment was sent to a public defender for MacGregor.
Joseph, who was appointed as a District Court judge in 2017, has been suspended without pay, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said.

Dominican Man Had Been Deported Twice

Authorities say an immigration agent was in the courtroom to detain the man when he appeared in the Newton courthouse in April 2018. The Dominican man had twice been deported and had been barred from entering the U.S. until 2027, prosecutors say.
Authorities say Joseph’s clerk asked the agent to leave the courtroom and told him that the suspect would be released into the courthouse lobby.
Instead, after the hearing, MacGregor led the defendant downstairs to the lockup and let him out a rear door, prosecutors say.
The man was caught by immigration officials about a month later, Lelling said, and is now in immigration proceedings.
The Trump administration has resisted calls to add courthouses to the list of so-called “sensitive locations” that are generally free from immigration enforcement, like schools and places of worship.
Immigration officials have said communities are forcing their hand by refusing to transfer immigrants in local prisons and jails to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They also argue that courthouse arrests are safer for agents because people have to go through metal detectors when they enter courthouses.

Judge’s Actions Called Abuse of Power

Courthouse arrests happened under former Democratic President Barack Obama, but advocates and lawyers across the country have said the practice has increased under Trump.
MacGregor, the former court officer, was also charged with perjury. Authorities say he falsely told the grand jury that he was unaware that immigration agents were in the courthouse before he let the suspect out the door.
“Abuses of power hurt us all,” said Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “It undermines the core mission of government to serve the people. It has no place in a just and accountable society.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey blasted Lelling for the charges, saying the matter could have been handled by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct and the trial court.
“Today’s indictment is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts,” Healey said in an emailed statement. “It is a bedrock principle of our constitutional system that federal prosecutors should not recklessly interfere with the operation of state courts and their administration of justice.”
Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, called the case “preposterous, ironic, and deeply damaging to the rule of law.”

DON'T MISS

Bill Belichick Joining ‘Inside the NFL’ for Upcoming Season

DON'T MISS

Alec Baldwin Trial Halted as Judge Reviews Defense Motion to Dismiss Due to Ammo Dispute

DON'T MISS

A Packed Fresno City Hall Witnesses Badhesha’s Historic Moment for Sikhs

DON'T MISS

The Embattled Biden Campaign Tests Kamala Harris’ Strength vs. Trump

DON'T MISS

Emergency Workers Uncover Dozens of Bodies in a Gaza City District After Israeli Assault

DON'T MISS

Destination Paris: Swimmer Ryan Murphy Longs to Reclaim Top Spot on Medal Podium at the Olympics

DON'T MISS

These Picassos Prompted a Gender War at an Australian Gallery. Now the Curator Says She Painted Them

DON'T MISS

Russian Passenger Jet Crashes Flying Empty Near Moscow, Killing Its Crew of 3

DON'T MISS

Republicans Are Gathering in Milwaukee to Nominate Donald Trump Again. Here’s What to Expect

DON'T MISS

Spain and England Meet in Euro 2024 Final but It Isn’t a Classic, Deep-Rooted International Rivalry

UP NEXT

Dinuba Man Faces Sexual Assault Charges, More Victims Possible

UP NEXT

A Trump Ally Is Training 75 Armed Citizens. Is That a Militia?

UP NEXT

House Passes GOP Bill Requiring Proof of Citizenship to Vote, Boosting Election-Year Talking Point

UP NEXT

His Brother Was Found Dead, His Mother Was Arrested Before This Baby Was Found Crawling by a Highway

UP NEXT

NATO Leaders Are Descending on Washington. Here’s What to Know

UP NEXT

Texas Residents Told to Expect Power Outages, Flooding as Beryl Moves Closer to Landfall

UP NEXT

To Save Spotted Owls, US Officials Plan to Kill Hundreds of Thousands of Another Owl Species

UP NEXT

Defense Secretary Austin Says the US Will Provide $2.3 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine

UP NEXT

Hunter Biden Sues Fox News Over Explicit Images Featured in a Streaming Series

UP NEXT

Officers Shoot 3 Coyotes at SF Botanical Garden Following Attack on 5-Year-Old Girl

The Embattled Biden Campaign Tests Kamala Harris’ Strength vs. Trump

21 mins ago

Emergency Workers Uncover Dozens of Bodies in a Gaza City District After Israeli Assault

38 mins ago

Destination Paris: Swimmer Ryan Murphy Longs to Reclaim Top Spot on Medal Podium at the Olympics

42 mins ago

These Picassos Prompted a Gender War at an Australian Gallery. Now the Curator Says She Painted Them

47 mins ago

Russian Passenger Jet Crashes Flying Empty Near Moscow, Killing Its Crew of 3

56 mins ago

Republicans Are Gathering in Milwaukee to Nominate Donald Trump Again. Here’s What to Expect

1 hour ago

Spain and England Meet in Euro 2024 Final but It Isn’t a Classic, Deep-Rooted International Rivalry

1 hour ago

Phillies Back Nola With 3 HRs, Finish 3-Game Sweep of Dodgers

2 hours ago

Father and Son Arrested in Connection with Mendota Homicide

2 hours ago

Looking for Free Things to Do in the Valley? Check These Out

2 hours ago

Bill Belichick Joining ‘Inside the NFL’ for Upcoming Season

LOS ANGELES — Bill Belichick has added a second media job for the upcoming season. The CW Network announced Thursday that Belichick will be ...

42 seconds ago

43 seconds ago

Bill Belichick Joining ‘Inside the NFL’ for Upcoming Season

2 mins ago

Alec Baldwin Trial Halted as Judge Reviews Defense Motion to Dismiss Due to Ammo Dispute

17 mins ago

A Packed Fresno City Hall Witnesses Badhesha’s Historic Moment for Sikhs

21 mins ago

The Embattled Biden Campaign Tests Kamala Harris’ Strength vs. Trump

38 mins ago

Emergency Workers Uncover Dozens of Bodies in a Gaza City District After Israeli Assault

42 mins ago

Destination Paris: Swimmer Ryan Murphy Longs to Reclaim Top Spot on Medal Podium at the Olympics

47 mins ago

These Picassos Prompted a Gender War at an Australian Gallery. Now the Curator Says She Painted Them

56 mins ago

Russian Passenger Jet Crashes Flying Empty Near Moscow, Killing Its Crew of 3

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend