Taxpayers Paid Legal Costs for Judge Who Helped Illegal Immigrant Escape ICE
Massachusetts 'sanctuary city' judge helps illegal alien avoid arrest
A Massachusetts "sanctuary city" judge, who was indicted for helping an illegal immigrant escape from ICE agents and avoid arrest, billed the taxpayer for her legal costs, according to reports.
51-year-old Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph had $127,000 in legal fees paid by American taxpayers, a report claims.
Richmond Joseph was indicted on federal charges after she and a court officer stalled US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while helping the illegal alien flee out a back door of the building to escape being arrested.
Additionally, the court officer, who was also indicted, has benefitted from $2,500 in tax dollars to pay legal fees, the report said.
To put that number in perspective, the $129,500 taken from tax funds was just shy of the annual average starting salary for three teachers in the state.
According to Fox News, Judge Richmond Joseph, 51, pleaded not guilty in April when she was arraigned in a Boston courtroom on obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from an incident that allegedly took place April 2, 2018.
Prosecutors claimed in court documents in April that Joseph, along with Court Officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, helped Jose Medina-Perez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a fugitive warrant for drunken driving in Pennsylvania, sneak out a back door.
The move helped him elude agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he appeared in court to be arraigned on drug charges, according to MassLive.com.
“This case is about the rule of law,” said United States Attorney Andrew Lelling in the press statement:
"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."
Medina-Perez, who had been barred from entering the U.S. until 2027, was caught by immigration officials about a month after the hearing.
He is currently involved in deportation proceedings after previously being deported in 2003 and 2007, the Boston Herald reported.
After her indictment, Joseph was suspended without pay but filed an appeal to have her salary of $184,600 reinstated, the Boston Herald reported.
MacGregor was being paid $83,344 a year but recently retired, the report said.
A crowdfunding site, meanwhile, shows that donors have pledged more than $60,000 to help Joseph pay legal bills, according to the Herald.
Taxpayers ceased picking up the tab for the judge when she was indicted, a court official told the newspaper.
She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.