A court officer with the powers of a judge in Oregon who federal officials claim helped an illegal alien drunk driver escape being detained by immigration officials has been identified.
On Monday, Breitbart News reported that a “judicial referee” at Portland’s Multnomah County Courthouse was accused of interfering with the apprehension of an illegal alien who had appeared in her court on a drunk driving charge.
That court officer has now been identified as Judge Monica Heeranz. It is now being reported that Heeranz allowed 22-year-old Diddier Pacheco Salazar escape the custody of immigration officials after his case in her court was concluded.
According to U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, Heeranz helped Salazar escape ICE officers by allowing him to escape out of a door usually reserved for use by court officers and employees. The incident occurred on January 27, just after President Trump issued his Execute Order to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico. Herranz has the powers of a judge and hears small claims cases, traffic violations, and other low-end cases . She is also on the board of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association.
It appears that Salazar’s court-appointed attorney had a hint that something was up.
“I prepped my client. I said, ‘I don’t know if they’re going to pick you up outside or what, but here’s how to prepare,’ ” attorney John Schlosser told a local newspaper. “After the court appearance, I went out in the hallway and sat. My client never came out. I can’t say that I’m surprised he didn’t come out, but I gave him his options, and assume he had to have been escorted out some other way.”
U.S. Attorney Williams said it was troubling that a person with the powers of a judge would help a criminal escape the law.
“When you’re talking about the judicial system — whether it’s federal or by state — you have an expectation that people are going to abide by the law and not take steps based on their own motivations, their own politics – whatever the motivation was.”
Multnomah County Circuit Court’s presiding judge, Judge Nan Waller, reportedly launched an internal investigation into Heeranz’ actions. She had previously sent an email to court staffers warning them not to impede federal officials, but she also wrote that she informed federal officials to treat the courthouse as a “sensitive location.”
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