Federal prosecutors announced charges Thursday against a Massachusetts judge who assisted an illegal immigrant in escaping from her courtroom, according to court documents, thwarting the deportation officer who had been waiting to pick him up.
Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, a state judge in Newton, Massachusetts, was heard on a court recording saying she wasn’t going to allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to grab the man.
She ordered the ICE officer out of her courtroom, then allowed the illegal immigrant to be taken out the back where he was released through another door, prosecutors said.
“This case is about the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, who said Judge Josephintentionally interfered with enforcement of a federal law. “We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law. Everyone in the justice system — not just judges, but law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense counsel — should be held to a higher standard.”
Judge Joseph has been suspended without pay, the governor’s office said.