Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is calling for Judge Shelley M. Joseph to be removed from the bench during a federal investigation into whether she helped a criminal illegal alien evade arrest by ICE.
The judge and other courthouse staff might have broken federal laws back in April when hearing the case of Jose Medina-Perez, whose real name is Oscar Manuel Peguero, according to the Boston Globe.
At the same time that Governor Baker is calling for the removal, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are requesting “state Attorney General to initiate a federal lawsuit to stop ICE agents from making detentions at state courthouses,” Patch.com reported.
THEY WANT TO KEEP A FOREIGN CRIMINAL IN THE USA
The Dominican national involved is criminal wanted as a fugitive for drunk driving in Pennslyvania and possible drug possession. He has been deported twice before.
We wouldn’t want to lose him!
The defense attorney, other attorneys, and the judge discussed helping Medina-Perez escape during his hearing while ICE was in the courthouse and there is some audio of their conversation! They helped him sneak out the back door after his drunk driving case was dismissed.
Within a couple months, the alien committed another crime and was rearrested.
According to the Globe, which obtained audio of part of the conversation, the judge and attorneys can be heard saying:
“ICE is going to get him,” the judge told the attorneys during the April 2 sidebar conversation. “What if we continue [the case]?” she suggested, before instructing a clerk to turn off the courtroom’s audio recorder. Whatever was said during the next 58 seconds went unrecorded.
Minutes later, Medina-Perez was escorted downstairs, released from custody, and allowed out a back door, according to two people briefed on the episode. He scaled a fence and took off, leaving the immigration agent behind, the people said.
Some court employees have already testified before the grand jury.
“There is a big difference between doing nothing and taking affirmative steps to prevent some authority from exercising its rights,” former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan said, admitting it would be “shocking” for any court official to help a defendant flee from federal authorities.
Joseph’s actions may qualify as an obstruction of justice even though Newton is a sanctuary city and Massachusetts officials are not required to honor ICE detainer requests.