Boston state court Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph, 51, was indicted Thursday on obstruction of justice charges for helping a man living in the United States illegally to evade a waiting immigration enforcement agent by sneaking out a back door. The Supreme Judicial Court announced Judge Joseph is suspended, per her indictment.
Former trial court officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, was also indicted.
On April 2, 2018 prosecutors say an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was in a Newton Courthouse courtroom to detain Jose Medina-Perez on a immigration detainer. Medina-Perez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a fugitive warrant for drunken driving in Pennsylvania was in the hearing on charges that included drug possession, CBS Boston reports.
Authorities say Judge Joseph asked the ICE agent to leave the courtroom and told him that Medina-Perez, who had been barred from entering the U.S. until 2027, would be released into the courthouse lobby.
Instead, after the hearing, Judge Joseph ordered MacGregor to lead Medina-Perez downstairs to the lockup and let him out the back door.
Medina-Perez was caught by immigration officials about a month after the hearing, and is now in immigration proceedings.
Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Boston says:
"Abuses of power hurt us all. It undermines the core mission of government to serve the people. It has no place in a just and accountable society."
Judge Joseph and MacGregor were both charged with obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting; obstruction of a federal proceeding, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to obstruct justice. MacGregor was also charged with perjury before a federal grand jury.
Joseph was appointed Newton District judge by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in 2017 after several years serving as a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling released this statement:
“This case is about the rule of law. 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."
PINAC News has reported on a number of judges being arrested.