April 25 (UPI) — A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a Massachusetts judge and state officer on obstruction of justice charges over an undocumented immigrant evading ICE last year.
The indictment in U.S. District Court in Boston named as defendants Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, 51, and court officer Wesley MacGregor, 56. Both defendants face charges of obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting, and obstruction of a federal proceeding. MacGregor also faces a charge of perjury for lying to a grand jury, records show.
Joseph and MacGregor are accused of allowing an undocumented immigrant to leave Newton District Court through the back door of the courthouse last year after he was arrested on drug charges to evade being detained for possible deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a press conference that “this case is not about immigration.”
“This case is about the rule of law,” Lelling said. “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. We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law.”
The immigrant, who’d been deported twice from the United States, is not identified in the indictment, but the Boston Globe reported in December that his name is Jose Medina-Perez.
Newton police arrested the immigrant last year on a fugitive warrant for drunk driving in Pennsylvania and narcotics possession, the indictment said. After the arrest, ICE issued a detainer for him.
Medina-Perez had previously been deported in 2003 and 2007 and federal immigration records show he was prohibited from entering the United States until 2027.