OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A progressive district judge in Massachusetts appears to be off the hook on federal charges filed against her during then-President Donald Trump’s administration.
In 2018, District Court Judge Shelley Joseph allegedly helped a twice-deported illegal immigrant who appeared in her court on a drug charge escape using the back door of her courthouse in order to evade a waiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. She was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, as was Wesley MacGregor, her chief court officer.
The Boston Herald explained, however, that under the Biden administration, those charges will be dropped:
Joseph, who had been suspended with pay after she was indicted, will be returning to the bench soon now that fellow woke Rhode Island U.S Attorney Zachary Cunha recommended that federal charges against her be dropped.
Cunha got the case after Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins was forced to recuse herself. Rollins as Suffolk district attorney was a strong supporter of Joseph, a fellow progressive, and was critical of former U.S Attorney Andrew Lelling for pursuing the case. Rollins filed a suit against the U. S. Justice department on Joseph’s behalf.
Lelling was appointed by President Donald Trump. Rollins, who replaced him, and Cunha were appointed by President Joe Biden, as was Attorney General Merrick Garland, who will have final say.
Cunha recommended that in place of criminal charges the matter be turned over to the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct for administrative action.
If you suspect a heavy-handed progressive tilt to this case, you would not be wrong.
The outlet noted that while Jose Medina Perez was in Joseph’s court facing drug charges, he was also wanted in Pennsylvania for drunk driving and had a federal warrant out for his arrest for being in the U.S. illegally.
An ICE agent attended the proceedings and was in the courtroom ready to take the migrant into custody after deliberations. However, the judge ordered the agent out of her courtroom.
While the agent waited outside the front door to the courtroom, Joseph arranged for Perez to be released through a back door, which took place after Joseph held a sidebar with the migrant’s attorney. During that sidebar, Joseph ordered the clerk to shut off the courtroom recording device so as to ensure there would be no record of her comments, the Boston Herald continued.
She then allowed Perez, who was being accompanied by MacGregor, to flee, thereby evading the ICE agent.
The Trump Justice Department indicted Joseph, and she unsuccessfully tried to argue in federal district court that she was protected from prosecution by “absolute judicial immunity.” The federal judge said she had no such immunity and as such, ordered her to stand trial.
“Given Cunha’s recommendation to the U.S. Justice Department that the charges be dropped, coupled with the politicization of justice under Joe Biden, Joseph was right. She will not stand trial,” the Boston Herald op-ed noted further.
“That is because Joseph has something more important than judicial immunity; she has political immunity. Politics trumps justice. Which only goes to add to the growing belief that there are two systems of justice I the country,” the op-ed continued.
“One is for progressives with power, and the other is for everyone else. If you’re woke, you walk.”
In addition to dropping the conspiracy and obstruction charges, under an agreement announced last week federal prosecutors will also be dropping an additional perjury charge against MacGregor, The New York Times added.
Joseph’s legal team noted in a statement that she pleaded not guilty almost three-and-a-half years ago and “she stands by her innocence today.”
“This was a patently political indictment, blindly grounded in prosecutorial ambition,” Thomas M. Hoopes, one of Joseph’s lawyers, said in the statement. “We are hopeful that it will result in a long-deserved dismissal, which we take as full and complete exoneration.”