A federal grand jury is investigating a Massachusetts judge after she allegedly allowed an illegal immigrant to escape an arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
Judge Shelley M. Joseph reportedly allowed suspected illegal immigrant Jose Medina-Perez -who was allegedly wanted for drunken driving and drug possession- to flee out the courthouse’s rear exit on April 2, telling a defense attorney that “ICE is going to get him.”
Despite the fact that all court proceedings are recorded under state law, the judge asked the court reporter to turn the recording off when she spoke to defense attorney Dave Jellinek that she was considering letting the man escape.
Jellinek could be heard pleading to let the man go, claiming ICE will detain him as soon as he walked out the front door of the courthouse.
“ICE is going to get him,”Joseph could be heard saying in the recording. “What if we continue…”
“Are we filming?” Jellinek asked, not wanting anything to be on record.
Realizing they were being recorded, Jellinek spoke to her court reporter. “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.”
From then on, the tape went dead for 58 seconds. Within that time frame, Medina-Perez was escorted out of the courtroom, where he was allowed to escape out the back door, scaling a fence and “leaving the immigration agent behind.”
According to the Boston Globe, ICE agents captured the man later in the month, revealing Medina-Perez’s real identity- 38-year-old Dominican national Oscar Manuel Peguero, who has been deported on two previous occasions.
In addition to investigating the judge, the grand jury will also see if the other court staff broke any laws in helping Peguero escape ICE custody, and reports have surfaced that several members of the court staff have been called to testify.
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