BREAKING: Boston-area judge charged with helping undocumented immigrant elude ICE
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A Massachusetts judge conspired with a court officer to help an undocumented immigrant slip out a back exit of a courthouse and elude arrest by immigration authorities, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.
Judge Shelley Joseph and court officer Wesley MacGregor were hit with federal obstruction of justice charges for their role in aiding the defendant, who was facing drug possession charges in April 2018, according to an indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.
The article goes on to state the following:
The man, identified as A.S., was also facing charges of being a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania when he was allowed to dash out of a rear entrance at the state courthouse in Newton, Mass., federal prosecutors said.
— U.S. Attorney MA (@DMAnews1) April 25, 2019
Press release: https://t.co/Spg17kQFd6
— U.S. Attorney MA (@DMAnews1) April 25, 2019
Below is additional information provided in the Justice Department press release:
According to court documents, on March 30, 2018, Newton Police arrested and charged an alien defendant under Massachusetts General Law with being a fugitive from justice and narcotics possession. Further investigation revealed that the defendant had twice been deported from the United States – in 2003 and 2007, and that a federal order had been issued prohibiting the defendant from entering the U.S. until 2027. After learning of the defendant’s arrest, ICE issued a Federal Immigration Detainer and Warrant of Removal, which stated that the defendant was subject to removal from the United States. On April 2, 2018, Newton Police transferred custody of the defendant to Newton District Court (NDC), where Joseph was assigned as the District Court Judge and MacGregor as a Trial Court Officer, and forwarded the Detainer and Warrant.
At 9:30 a.m. on April 2, 2018, a plainclothes ICE officer was dispatched to NDC to execute the Warrant and take custody of the defendant following his release from NDC. The Officer announced his presence to Courthouse personnel, including Joseph, upon arrival. Prior to the afternoon session, the courtroom clerk – at Joseph’s direction – allegedly instructed the ICE Officer to leave the courtroom and wait outside in the lobby, stating that in the event that the defendant was released, it would be through the courtroom and into the lobby.
At 2:48 p.m. the case was called and the proceedings were captured on the courtroom’s audio recorder, as prescribed under the rules for all State District Courts. The audio recording captured Joseph, the defense attorney and the ADA speaking at side bar about the defendant and the ICE detainer. Joseph then allegedly ordered the courtroom clerk to “go off the record for a moment.” For the next 52 seconds, the courtroom audio recorder was turned off, in violation of the District Court rules. At 2:51 p.m., the recorder was turned back on, and Joseph indicated her intent to release the defendant. According to the charging documents, the defense attorney asked to speak with the defendant downstairs and Joseph responded, “That’s fine. Of course.” When reminded by the clerk that an ICE Officer was in the courthouse, Joseph stated, “That’s fine. I’m not gonna allow them to come in here. But he’s been released on this.” Immediately following the proceeding, MacGregor allegedly escorted the defendant, his attorney and an interpreter downstairs to the lockup and used his security access card to open the rear sally-port exit and release the defendant at 3:01 p.m.
BREAKING: Boston-area judge hit with federal obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant escape a courthouse to elude ICE. https://t.co/0ILzSnd3Ba
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 25, 2019
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