A Massachusetts district court judge is reportedly under federal investigation, and according to Governor Charlie Baker, she shouldn’t be hearing criminal cases right now.
The Boston Globe reported federal prosecutor Andrew Lelling has convened a grand jury to investigate the role she may have played in assisting an illegal alien form getting away from Immigration officials.
Jose Medina-Perez was charged with drug possession and was also reportedly subject to a Pennsylvania warrant for drunk driving.
Speaking to reporters at the State House, Gov. Baker, who nominated Joseph, called the story “extremely troubling.”
“I don’t believe she should be hearing criminal cases until that federal case is resolved,” Baker said, adding that there is precedent for court officials taking such action.
While in court on April 2, Joseph told a defense attorney and state prosecutor in a sidebar, “ICE is going to get him.”
“What if we continue [the case]?” she suggested, according to a court recording.
Under state law, all court proceedings are recorded.
“The court’s recorder picked up some of the sidebar conversations before the first-year judge remembered she was being recorded and told the court reporter to turn off the recording so she could go ‘off the record.’”
In the recording, the defense appears to plead the case that his client is not the suspect wanted in Pennsylvania and is actually a U.S. citizen.
“ICE is convinced that this guy. ICE will pick him up if he walks out the front door. But I think the best thing for us to do is clear the fugitive issue and release him on personal [inaudible].”
The prosecutor does not appear to put up a fight, saying “There is a detainer attached to my paperwork, but I felt like that’s separate and apart from what my role is.”
The defense attorney them interrupted the judge’s query for a continuance and asks, “Are we filming?”
What sounds like a shocked gasp from a female voice can be heard and then Joseph said, “Larry (court reporter), can we go off the record for a moment?”
The court reporter asks, “What’s that?” and Judge Joseph responds, “Are we off the record?”
The court reporter responds, “No, ma’am.”
Then the recording abruptly stops.
“The Globe reported the conversation continued for another 58 seconds after the recording stopped. A few minutes later, Medina-Perez was reportedly escorted downstairs, released from custody, and allowed to exit through a back door.”
He then reportedly scaled a fence and “took off, leaving the immigration agent behind,” the newspaper reported from people “briefed on the episode.”
“Later that month (April), immigration officers arrested Medina-Perez in Roslindale, Massachusetts.”
“An immigration judge freed the migrant on a bond and his case is now pending. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials say the man’s real name is Oscar Manuel Peguero.
“ICE says he is actually a 38-year-old Dominican national who has been deported on two previous occasions – in January 2003 and June 2007.”
From additional reports, it appears this illegal is a serial offender, who has more than one alias.
The grand jury is reported to be investigating the actions of others in the court staff too, to discover if they broke the law helping the judge help Medina-Perez avoid immigration officers.
Such behavior is despicable, according to many people, and think that God-forbid, in the next crime committed by Medina-Perez, Judge Joseph should be named as an accomplice.