As we wrote approximately a year ago, The People’s Republic of Massachusetts along with Ohio and Washington were then in a near three-way tie for the blue ribbon for most corrupt state in the nation. Sadly for the last two, a recent matter has helped The People’s Republic pull ahead in the race and stake a singular claim on the prize. In mid-April, federal prosecutors charged a Massachusetts judge with obstruction of justice, saying she prevented immigration agents from arresting an undocumented immigrant after a state court hearing by allowing him to leave the courthouse through a back door.
The indictment marked an unusual escalation in the federal government’s strict immigration enforcement policy. The indictment accuses District Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph and a court officer, Wesley MacGregor, of allowing the immigrant to leave the courthouse, out of a federal agent’s sight, and lying about it after the fact.
The charges come in the middle of a standoff between the Trump administration and dozens of U.S. communities that have objected to providing the federal government information on residents’ immigration status. The U.S. Attorney in Boston, Andrew Leiling, said the case is “about the rule of law,” not immigration. Joseph, a judge in Newton near Boston, is charged with one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of aiding and abetting to obstruct justice.
The prosecution is seen as a political move by many on the inside, including the attorney representing the judge. Her attorney contends that “Shelley Joseph is absolutely innocent.” The charges drew intense criticism, particularly from the left. Matthew Segal, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, called the indictment “very aggressive” and “completely outrageous.”
The translation of all of this: it’s OK to commit crimes, just as long as the violator is part of the U.S. legal system. The glorified unelected lawyer-criminals in black gowns in that state believe the rule of law is meant merely as a recommendation. As disturbing as it is, an overwhelming number of them put into these positions of power simply get away with their rule- and law-breaking in that state, and in many others.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, also slammed the indictment as a “radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts.” Perhaps by “independence of our courts” she is implying that the public servants running them should be able to do whatever they want—legal or not. Prosecutors alleged that during an April 2018 court hearing in Newtown, MA, Joseph and MacGregor allowed the Dominican national, detained on drug and outstanding warrant charges, to leave the courthouse from a downstairs back door after the judge instructed an immigration agent to wait in the hallway outside her courtroom.
The migrant, later identified as Jose Medina-Perez, had previously been deported from the United States twice before, in 2003 and in 2007, and had been barred from re-entering the country until 2027. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials learned of Medina-Perez's detention following his March 30, 2018, arrest when local police submitted his fingerprints to the national law enforcement database. The fingerprint notification prompted ICE officials to issue a detainer, requesting local police to alert them within forty-eight hours of any planned release.
In court documents, federal prosecutors provided a partial transcript of the court proceeding in which the judge, defense attorney, and court clerk refer to the migrant's status and the risk that he would be detained by immigration officials following the hearing. "ICE is gonna get him?" Joseph asks the migrant's defense attorney. "Yeah," the attorney responds. Soon after the exchange, prosecutors allege, Joseph directed the courtroom recorder to be "turned off" for fifty-two seconds while the discussion continued.
Many politicians in cities across the U.S. have told the media that they will not help ICE locate immigrants who have been ordered deported. But, this indictment is one of the only examples of a federal prosecutor charging people within the legal system for their crimes. The main stream media is saying that this case has drawn sharp controversy and is sure to play out in the public eye, putting everyone involved in the system on notice that it can make examples out of them. However, this is exactly what these criminals need! If they know they will no longer be untouchable, we may finally see courts disbursing justice instead of perverting it.
Like many prosecutions of everyday people in America, the only reason Joseph is being targeted is because she angered the wrong person—not because she broke the law. Remember that there are multiple sets of rules in the legal system, and the set applied is determined by a person’s identity.
Also, the judicial system can strike anyone at any time—this is a simple concept for people to process in their minds but a difficult one to make them accept, for whatever reason. As experts in our field, we try to drill this into the heads of our audience during our national speaking engagements, but most people still react as the metaphorical deer in the headlights. Once the system negatively impacts them, our message will certainly be accepted, but it’s far better to be protected beforehand than to try to repair the damage afterward.
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