Case against judge charged in immigrant’s escape to go on

Posted at 4:35 PM, March 1, 2022 and last updated 4:42 PM, July 5, 2023

BOSTON (AP) — The case against a Massachusetts judge accused of helping a man who was living in the U.S. illegally sneak out of a courthouse to evade a federal immigration agent can move forward, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The court on Monday declined to dismiss the case against Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph and a retired court officer, The Boston Globe reported.

Their lawyers had argued that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution bars federal agencies from requiring state officers to enforce federal law, and that Joseph is protected from federal prosecution under judicial immunity, according to court documents.

Judge William Kayatta, writing on behalf of a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said the court does not have jurisdiction to review the case because Joseph has not yet faced trial.

Joseph and the court officer let the man escape out a rear door in April 2018 after a hearing while an immigration agent was in the courtroom to detain him. The Dominican man had twice been deported and been barred from entering the U.S. until 2027, prosecutors said.

They are charged with obstruction of justice.

Joseph’s lawyer said “we are reviewing all our options.”