We previously discussed the controversy surrounding Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph who allegedly helped an illegal immigrant evade ICE agents in April 2018. Joseph and court officer Wesley MacGregor were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting and obstruction of a federal proceeding.
Medina-Perez was arrested by Newton police on drug charges and faced a fugitive warrant for drunken driving in Pennsylvania and a detainer from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE was at the courthouse to execute the detainer and the defense counsel David Jellinek is heard on an audiotape saying “ICE will pick him up if he walks out the front door.” Joseph reportedly told his counsel “ICE is going to get him.” She then suggested “What if we continue [the case]?” and then instructed a clerk to turn off the courtroom’s audio recorder.
All such proceedings must be recorded and the order to turn off the recorder is not just a violation of that rule but shows a level of premeditation on her part to assist in the effort to evade ICE. The indictment recounts how:
“Immediately following the proceeding, defendant MACGREGOR escorted A.S. from the Courtroom downstairs to the lockup, accompanied by the Defense Attorney and an interpreter. Once inside the lockup, defendant MACGREGOR used his security access card to open the rear sally-port exit and released A.S. out the back door at approximately 3:01 p.m.”
All the time, the ICE agent was waiting as instructed outside of the courtroom expecting Medina-Perez. Indeed, MacGregor is also charged with perjury for falsely testifying before a federal grand jury in stating that, prior to releasing the defendant from the sally-port exit, he was unaware that ICE agents were in the Courthouse and that there was a detainer for the defendant.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has denounced the charges:
“Today’s indictment is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts. It is a bedrock principle of our constitutional system that federal prosecutors should not recklessly interfere with the operation of state courts and their administration of justice. This matter could have been appropriately handled by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Trial Court. I am deeply disappointed by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s misuse of prosecutorial resources and the chilling effect his actions will have.”
Judge Joseph is a graduate of New England School of Law and Boston College who worked as an assistant attorney general in the Family and Community Crimes Bureau. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at New England School of Law and Massachusetts School of Law as well as a former member of the Democratic State Committee.
Here is the indictment: Joseph indictment