'Sanctuary' Judge Indicted

A Massachusetts judge is indicted for her "sanctuary city" policy.

Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph and a court officer - identified as as Wesley MacGregor - are charged with obstruction of justice.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a detainer on Jose Medina-Perez, a twice-deported narcotics suspect. On April 2nd, an officer came to the court to take the suspect into custody and was told to wait in the lobby. Investigators say Judge Joseph arranged for the suspect, his lawyer, and an interpreter to leave the courthouse with MacGregor's assistance through a different exit.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said, “This case is about the rule of law. The allegations in today’s indictment involve obstruction by a sitting judge, that is intentional interference with the enforcement of federal law, and that is a crime."

Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, said "The people of this country deserve nothing less than to know that their appointed and elected representatives are working on their behalf, while adhering to and enforcing the rule of law, not a personal agenda. The special agents of Homeland Security Investigations remain committed to upholding our promise to the public, without compromise.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement the indictment "is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts."

Judge Joseph has been suspended without pay. She and MacGregor appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to all counts. No date has been set for their next court appearance.

Governor Charlie Baker, who appointed Joseph to the bench in 2017, says the judge should be removed from hearing criminal cases pending an investigation into her conduct.

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