Feds Charge Massachusetts Judge With Blocking Immigrant's Arrest by ICE

Feds Charge Massachusetts Judge With Blocking Immigrant's Arrest by ICE

A MA district court judge and a former court officer are facing federal charges related to allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant defendant evade ICE custody past year - and, soon after the charges were announced Thursday, state Attorney General Maura Healey vocally disagreed with the indictment, calling it "a radical and politically-motivated attack".

She then arranged for the suspect to be released through the court's rear door while the Ice agent waited in the courtroom's lobby for him to emerge, according to the indictment.

Massachusetts US attorney Andrew Lelling said the case was not meant to send a political message.

'We can not pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law'. "This is isn't a policy seminar, it's a law enforcement action".

A government official identified the man as Jose Medina Perez, a Dominican, and said ICE did arrest the man later.

Newtown, Massachusetts, where this took place is a sanctuary city.

Prosecutors say Joseph discussed getting the immigrant out of the courthouse without alerting ICE.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who nominated Joseph to the bench in 2017, said back in December when the federal investigation was first revealed that he wanted Joseph removed from the bench during the investigation.

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"Governor Baker believes no one should obstruct federal law enforcement officials trying to do their jobs", said Lizzy Guyton, the governor's communications director.

At that point, Joseph allowed A.S. and his attorney, accompanied by court officer MacGregor, to go downstairs to the lockup.

Investigators claimed the two interfered with an attempt by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) to arrest an undocumented immigrant at a 2018 court proceeding.

Joseph, 51, was charged with obstruction of justice Thursday.

"I'm not gonna allow them to come in here", the judge is alleged to have told the man's defense attorney.

More recently, almost 70 ex-judges urged ICE to stop courthouse arrests in a December letter. Courtroom recordings allegedly caught the judge, state prosecutor and defendant's attorney talking about the ICE agent looking for Peguero.

The indictment says ICE made the match through Mr. Perez's fingerprints after he was arrested by police in Newton, Massachusetts, on March 30, 2018. According to court papers, he told a grand jury in July that he was not aware an ICE agent was in the courthouse or that a detainer was issued for the immigrant. In this case, like so many others across ma, an ICE officer staked out a state court and made it hard for court officials to do their job, which is to ensure that people in state court have access to justice.

"The people of this country deserve nothing less than to know that their appointed and elected representatives are working on their behalf, while adhering to and enforcing the rule of law, not a personal agenda", a statement from Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said. The former trial court officer, Wesley MacGregor, 56, was also charged.

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