The Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts is slamming federal prosecutors for indicting a circuit court judge who allegedly helped an illegal immigrant drug dealer escape arrest and deportation.
The indictment “is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts,” said AG Maura Healey. She continued:
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.
The alleged drug dealer is reportedly named Jose Medina-Perez and is from the Dominican Republic. He has not been caught since he exited the back door of the courthouse while the ICE agent was forced to wait at the front door. He had returned to the United States after being deported twice.
Feds indict a Massachusetts judge in a 'sanctuary city' for helping an alleged drug-dealer escape his third deportation. https://t.co/2DNzmBoYvY
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) April 26, 2019
The District Judge, Shelley Joseph, was forced to appear at the federal court on Friday, where she appeared to cry as she left the courthouse.
The state ACLU branch also rushed to defend the judge. Patch.com reported:
“The Department of Justice’s decision to bring this case is preposterous, ironic, and deeply damaging to the rule of law,” Carol Rose,the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement after the indictments were issued.”The Department of Justice has now charged a state judge and court security officer based on a theory of obstruction that is shockingly aggressive.”
“In this case, like so many others across Massachusetts, an ICE officer staked out a state court and made it difficult for court officials to do their job, which is to ensure that people in state court have access to justice. But instead of rethinking its own awful behavior, the federal government has now charged a judge and a court officer with crimes,” the statement read.
This is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts. I am deeply disappointed by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s misuse of prosecutorial resources and the chilling effect his actions will have. https://t.co/ywkLdIC07S
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) April 25, 2019