Massachusetts judge, trial court officer accused of helping fugitive immigrant evade ICE officer
Judge Shelley Joseph suspended without pay
BOSTON — Federal authorities are charging a Massachusetts District Court judge and a trial court officer with obstruction of justice and other crimes, according to an indictment obtained by 5 Investigates.
Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph was suspended without pay Thursday, just hours after the federal indictment was announced.
Joseph and Wesley MacGregor, the trial court officer, are accused of conspiring to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from taking an immigrant into custody at Newton District Court on April 2, 2018.
The immigrant, who had been deported twice before, was arrested four days earlier for narcotics possession and being a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania. When his fingerprints were taken, ICE became aware of the arrest.
ICE issued an order for a federal immigration detainer and sent an officer to the courthouse.
In the courtroom, Joseph ordered the courtroom recording device to be turned off for 52 seconds in order to conceal a conversation about getting the immigrant out of the courthouse, the indictment said.
Here’s the top of the indictment of a judge and court officer – accused of helping a defendant evade ICE agents. Both are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice & obstruction of a fed proceeding. Only the court officer is charged with perjury. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/LiKlDSZeGv
— Karen Anderson (@karenreports) April 25, 2019
According to the indictment filed by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office, MacGregor agreed with the immigrant’s defense attorney to release the immigrant through a rear door in order to evade the federal officers. Joseph participated by creating a pretext for the immigrant to be brought downstairs for “further interview” so he could be released through that door, the indictment said.
Joseph and MacGregor face charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of a federal proceeding, the indictment said. MacGregor is also charged with perjury on suspicion of giving false testimony to a federal grand jury that was reviewing the case.
“The allegations in today’s indictment involve obstruction by a sitting judge, that is intentional interference with the enforcement of federal law, and that is a crime,” Lelling said. “We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law.”
Both were allowed to surrender themselves to face the charges, Lelling’s office said. They are expected to appear in federal court for a hearing Thursday afternoon.
Gov. Charlie Baker had previously called for Joseph to be removed from the bench.
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Author: The Millennium Report