Suspected of Helping an Immigrant Escape ICE, Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation
By Gintautas Dumcius
A Massachusetts district court judge who is reportedly under federal investigation should not be handling criminal cases while a review is underway, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.
The Boston Globe reports federal prosecutor Andrew Lelling has convened a grand jury to investigate the role District Court Judge Shelley Joseph may have played in helping an undocumented immigrant, Jose Medina-Perez, get away from federal immigration authorities in April.
Speaking to reporters at the State House, Gov. Baker, who nominated Joseph, called the story "extremely troubling."
"I don't believe she should be hearing criminal cases until that federal case is resolved," Baker said, adding that there is precedent for court officials taking such action.
A court spokeswoman declined to comment when asked about Baker's remarks.
Baker said he did not regret nominating Joseph.
"Look, judges are not supposed to be in the business of obstructing justice," the governor said. "And as far as I can tell, based on the facts as they were presented, she clearly violated the court's own policies with respect to the way they're supposed to handle continuance and involve federal immigration enforcement."
The Globe reported the judge told attorneys "ICE is going to get him," an apparent reference to an agent in the building, and offered to continue the case. She then told a clerk to switch off the audio recorder in the courtroom.
The newspaper says she may have broken two court policies: Judges cannot help or hurt the efforts of federal agents, and court sessions, with some exceptions, must be recorded.
Citing sources, the Globe reported that Medina-Perez later left through a back door, "scaled a fence and took off, leaving the immigration agent behind."
Baker nominated Joseph in 2017. A criminal defense lawyer who specialized in Registry of Motor Vehicle hearings and restraining orders, she also worked as an assistant attorney general from 1993 to 2000.
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