On Thursday, a Massachusetts judge was charged with obstruction of justice for helping an undocumented immigrant escape a plainclothes ICE agent during a court hearing last year.
The State District Judge, Shelley Richmond Joseph, and court officer, Wesley MacGregor, are alleged to have allowed an unnamed undocumented immigrant to sneak out the backdoor of the courthouse.
According to the indictment, the immigrant appeared in Joseph’s courtroom in April 2018 on charges of being a fugitive from Pennsylvania and possession.
“So, it’s my understanding that ICE is here,” Joseph said during the hearing, according to the indictment.
“ICE is going to pick him up if he walks out the front door,” the man’s attorney said, suggesting the judge drop the fugitive charge and to detain him on the drug charge.
“ICE is gonna get him?” Joseph asked.
“Yeah,” the defense attorney responded.
Joseph asked a court clerk to turn off the court recorder. When the recording resumed, the defense attorney asked to speak to his client downstairs in the courthouse lockup.
“I would ask that he, I believe he has some property downstairs,” the attorney said. “I’d like to speak with him downstairs with the interpreter, if I may.”
The judge agreed to the request and said she would release the man after he was taken to lockup.
After the hearing, the immigrant, the defense attorney and an interpreter were led downstairs and the courthouse back door was opened, allowing the man to go home, the indictment said.
Joseph’s lawyer said that the charges are “absolutely political.”