A Massachusetts trial judge and a court official have been indicted by federal officials who say they conspired to keep immigration agents from arresting a twice-deported drug suspect banned from entering the U.S. until 2027.
U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling accused the judge and official of preventing an ICE agent from detaining a drug suspect in April 2018, stating that both the judge and the suspect’s attorney were recorded discussing how to keep the suspect away from the agent.
The suspect, who was picked up by Newton police on drug charges, was deported in 2003 and 2007 and was not allowed to enter the U.S. again until 2027.
“…ICE is going to 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, release him on a personal [bond], and hope that he can avoid ICE… That’s the best I can do,” the attorney allegedly said on the court recording.
The judge reportedly responded, “ICE is gonna get him? What if we detain him?”
The suspect later avoided ICE after he was released without bail and escorted out by the court official who used his security card to open a rear exit door for him to leave, according to federal officials.
“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. Everyone in the justice system — not just judges, but law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and defense counsel — should be held to a higher standard. The people of Massachusetts expect that, just like they expect judges to be fair, impartial, and to follow the law themselves.”
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