Federal prosecutors brought conspiracy and obstruction charges against a Massachusetts District Court judge and a court officer on Thursday for allegedly helping a man to evade federal immigration officials.
The indictment, filed by the Department of Justice in the US District Court of Massachusetts, accused Judge Shelley M. R. Joseph of conspiring to obstruct justice under 18 USC § 1512(k), obstructing justice under 18 USC § 1512(c)(2) and 2, and obstructing a federal proceeding under 18 USC § 1512(c)(2). In addition to the preceding charges, court officer Wesley MacGregor was also charged with one count of perjury under 18 USC § 1623 for lying to a grand jury.
The charges stem from events that took place in the Newton District Court on April 2, 2018. A federal Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officer had issued an Immigration Detainer and a Warrant of Removal for a man who was to appear before the court on April 2. An ICE officer arrived in the court that morning and stated his business to arrest the man whom the indictment identifies only as “alien subject.” Judge Joseph is accused of conspiring to create a pretext to return the man to lockup rather than releasing him to the custody of the ICE agent so that Wesley MacGregor could help him leave undetected out a back exit.
Both Joseph and MacGregor entered not guilty pleas and have been released on their own recognizance.