Massachusetts Judge Indicted for "Helping Defendant Avoid ICE Arrest"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

MassLive (Melissa Hanson) reports, and you can read the indictment itself. An excerpt:

It was the object of the conspiracy to corruptly attempt to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, to wit, an ICE federal removal proceeding, by preventing the ICE Officer from taking custody of [Alien Subject] A.S. at the NDC Courthouse ….

It was a part of the conspiracy that defendant [court officer Wesley MacGregor] and the Defense Attorney agreed that defendant MacGregor would use his security access card to release A.S. out the rear-sally-port exit in order for A.S. to evade arrest by the ICE Officer ….

It was a part of the conspiracy that defendant [Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph] and the Defense Attorney agreed to create a pretext for A.S. to be brought back downstairs to the lockup so that A.S. could be released out the rear sally-port exit in order to evade arrest by the ICE Officer ….

[In furtherance of this,] Defendant Joseph ordered the Clerk to tum off the Courtroom recording device to conceal defendant Joseph's conversation with the Defense Attorney.

With the recorder off, defendant Joseph and the Defense Attorney discussed devising a way to have A.S. avoid being arrested by the ICE Officer.

Defendant Joseph ordered that the ICE Officer be prevented from entering the downstairs Courthouse lockup area.

After ordering A.S.'s release, defendant Joseph ordered that A.S. be returned downstairs to the lockup for the Defense Attorney to "further interview" A.S., which, in reality, was a pretext to allow A.S. to access the rear sally-port exit in order to avoid the ICE Officer….

A.S. had been arrested for being a fugitive from justice from Pennsylvania and with narcotics possession. He had been earlier deported from the U.S. in 2003 and 2007, and was forbidden to reenter the U.S. until 2027.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

136 responses to “Massachusetts Judge Indicted for "Helping Defendant Avoid ICE Arrest"

  1. Cool, now do the Governor of California and Mayor of San Francisco and we’ll be on a roll.

    1. Good point, their obstruction of federal law and agents is no more passive than a single clerk refusing to sign off on SSM certificates.

    2. Bigoted conservatives exhibit peculiarly flexible standards with respect to obstruction of justice.

  2. Do you have an actual crime to charge them with or you just hate brown people?

    1. He is violating federal law by re -entering after having been removed after a felony conviction under 1912. 8 U.S.C. 1326 — REENTRY AFTER DEPORTATION (REMOVAL).

      Aiding and abetting a fugitive felon who is subject to up to 20 years, is a crime. Sounds legit to me.

      1. Letting him out the back door so ICE’s trolling for illegals outside the courthose doesn’t seem a conspiracy.

        Though turning off the recording devices has more potential.

        1. Nice framing of ICE’s enforcing your immigration laws as “trolling for illegals”.

          1. You’re the one with odd framing. ICE can do their sweeps and enforce the law anywhere.

            Choosing to do so outside of a courthouse is a choice they made, and not a neccessary one. And one with implications for how they view the rights of illegals. Implications they should be judged for.

            1. Doing it outside a courthouse makes excellent sense. The illegals are screened for weapons, which helps ensure the safety of the ICE officers. Furthermore, in general, the person being deported isn’t actively (IE at that moment) taking care of children. And of course, the time, place, and identity of the subject is verified, which reduces enforcement issues, and makes sure the correct person is being deported. All important.

              Keep in mind, the individual to be deported had broken US criminal laws.

              1. Exactly. It’s an efficient use of government resources, which would include Sarc’s tax dollars, to enforce our laws.

                1. ” It’s an efficient use of government resources”

                  It’s great for the federal government. It’s not all that awesome for the state/local government. Should the feds take that into account?

                  1. “It’s great for the federal government. It’s not all that awesome for the state/local government. Should the feds take that into account?”

                    How is it bad for the state/local government? They wait until after the state business has been done and arrest the guy on his way out. We do it all the time, with ICE officers or people who have active warrants in other jurisdictions. The courtroom is a place you can predict them to be and identify them, so it’s a logical place to stop the guys. In my jurisdiction, we notify ICE rather than try to obstruct them.

            2. Let me rephrase that.

              You’re the one with odd framing. ICE U.S. Army CID can do their sweeps and enforce the law anywhere.

              Choosing to do so outside of a courthouse is a choice they made, and not a necessary one. And one with implications for how they view the rights of illegals deserters. Implications they should be judged for.

          2. Another spirited meeting of Libertarians For Bigoted, Authoritarian Immigration Practices And Policies has been convened among the liberty-loving wingnuts who follow reason.com.

            The remainder of the day will include meetings of

            Libertarians For Tariffs

            Libertarians For Statist Womb Management

            Libertarians For Torture and Endless Detention (of Muslims) Without Trial

            Libertarians For Big-State Micromanagement Of Ladyparts Clinics

        2. When multiple people coordinate like this to break the law, it’s conspiracy.

        3. It’s a crime if it’s part of a conspiracy to keep him out of federal custody.

          If a bar owner lets a patron leave by the back door that’s not a crime. If the patron tells the bar owner the Feds are outside coming in to get me, and the bartender says, I’ll turn off the surveillance camera and unlock the back entrance to let you out, and lock it up again so they can’t follow you, then that’s a crime. Hard to see what the judge did was any different.

        4. They were doing it inside the courthouse, because this defendant had been arrested and taken to the courthouse, and was expected to be released from the courthouse after his arraignment. The judge then had the ICE agent removed from the courtroom (in violation of the court system’s policy on dealing with this situation), illegally prevented the court proceedings from being recorded, falsified the recording, and surreptitiously arranged for the alien to escape from the courthouse with the assistance of an officer who committed perjury when testifying before the he grand jury about what had happened.

          Sounds like a conspiracy to me.

          1. Falsifying a recording certainly is not covered by judicial immunity.

    2. Poe’s Law in action right there in Reg’s comment.

  3. Rule of law!

    I await the first comparison to people hiding Jews in 1943.

    1. I have already seen the comparison of protecting illegals from deportation today as akin to protecting fugitive slaves from bounty hunters working under the Fugitive Slave Act.

      1. The main difference is the legitimacy you give ICE and the laws it’s enforcing.

        I find the laws legit, if wrongheaded. ICE’s tactics under Trump have become performatively cruel in a way that I do think robs them of their legitimacy – the cruelty is the point, and that’s not who we are.

        Trolling the courthouse, denying illegals access to that civic resource? That’s part of the cruelty. So I applaud the judge here, but think he should go to jail as anyone engaging in civil disobedience should be willing to do.

        1. “So I applaud the judge here,”

          Rule of law! baby.

          1. You apparently stopped reading immediately before “but think he should go to jail as anyone engaging in civil disobedience should be willing to do.” How convenient.

          2. “We MUST hold Trump accountable for obstruction – RULE OF LAW!!!!!!!”

            “Oh yeah enforcement of immigration like that is like immoral and stuff so we will ignore it because we don’t agree with the law…yeah….”

            1. First, I’m not saying the judge should get away with anything, Jimmy. Read my comment again.
              Second, I’m not the one championing rule of law as the be-all end-all, even with Trump; that’s your side.

        2. The Fugitive Slave Act was legit too, just a bad law.

          1. There is a threshold. An unjust law, etc. etc.

            I think our immigration system passes that threshold, but more in how it’s enforced than how it’s written. Not that I love how it’s written, but it doesn’t pass the threshold of being no law at all.

            1. I fail to see how enforcing immigration laws is somehow immoral….

              Especially seeing just about every other country in the world strictly enforces the right to regulate their own sovereign borders

              I would agree that there is some kind of “flex” when it comes to enforcement of any law, but here we see the Left categorically ENABLING those who are flaunting immigration law.

              I’m quite sure the Left might change its tune if say some rural school district decided that it didn’t care student’s had some created right to not Pledge Allegiance to the Flag and just started punished kids for not doing it. And what moral argument would they have against this practice? None. Other than their cause is “just” and the other one isn’t.

              1. “…those who are flaunting immigration law.”

                https://grammarist.com/usage/flaunt-flout/

                Happy to help.

              2. “I fail to see how enforcing immigration laws is somehow immoral….”

                Depends on how you do it. For example, if the various law enforcement agencies take on a policy of shooting anyone within 100 yards of the border, to keep people from crossing uninspected, that’s (literal) overkill.

                I agree with the point above that the judge should sit in the jail, like any other nonviolent protester who violates the law because they find it unjust. Fill up the jails, I’m SURE that jailing state court judges is an EXCELLENT way to get the states to shut up and do as told.

                1. Keep in mind that in this case the judge was violating the state’s own rules for how to handle these situations. This isn’t a federal vs state conflict. It’s a judge vs both conflict.

            2. If we as a society truly acted in public life that we believed that an unjust law, is no law at all, then every abortion clinic would be torched and every gun store bulldozed. Empty rhetoric and a motte and bailey argument.

              1. Read Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

          2. Fugitive Slave Law was not legit, it required state and local officials to enforce federal law. New York v US makes it clear Congress can’t order state and local officials to enforce federal regulations or laws.

            But it doesn’t have any application in this case anyway, purposely impeding a federal officer as part of a conspiracy to help a felon escape capture is way different than merely declining to assist.

        3. I don’t think you can vote this so a case of “denying illegals access to that civic resource [i.e., the courts].” A.S. wasn’t seeking access to the court. He was dragged there as a criminal defendant. Posting ICE agents outside the courthouse wasn’t going to deter people from approaching the courts who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

        4. “Denying illegals access to that civic resource”

          This is an odd argument to make. They are…illegal immigrants. Should they somehow not be able to be deported, because they have a right to access to the courthouse without risk?

          Where else would you like to expand this “access?”. Do illegals have a right to not be deported if occupying their home? Their place of work? Driving their automobile? Walking down the street?

          1. Consider two possibilities:

            1. The federal govt takes its need to deport illegals from this country seriously. Congress approves and appropriates sufficient resources to do this task; the various agencies involved work tirelessly to eject every detected illegal.

            2. The federal govt does not take seriously its immigration laws, and devotes significantly less resources to the the task than are required to do so effectively. A substantial number of illegals accumulate, who are residents, but not lawful ones, of the various states. Some of them are here long enough to produce lawful citizen offspring, and other than their illegal entry, are otherwise indistinguishable from the birthright citizens.

            In the latter case, the feds effectively drop the problem on the states, who are Constitutionally prevented from acting to differentiate the lawful from unlawful residents. The unlawful residents are witnesses to crimes, or even victims… and risk deportation if they come forward to complain of the crimes they endured/witnessed. Does that create any problems for the states?

            1. A large part of the problem here is that you’re treating the federal government as an undifferentiated mass.

              Part of the federal government is trying to enforce the law, and another part of it is, not unserious, but rather seriously determined that it not be enforced. (And merely constrained by political realities from admitting this.)

              As a matter of democracy and the rule of law this is rather troubling.

              1. “A large part of the problem here is that you’re treating the federal government as an undifferentiated mass.”

                The federal government has managers which direct what is to be done with the resources of the federal treasury. They have given two directives:

                1) The federal government shall act to remove all the illegals

                2) Unless there’s more than about 400,000 of them per year.

                This came about because when the statute was written, part 1 was unconstitutional as applied. They were in the habit of removing people without due process, and the Supreme Court had to step in and remind them about what the Constitution says about depriving people of liberty without due process.

                That’s management. The fact that various individual members of the government have different feelings about the matter doesn’t seem significant.

            2. “Who are constitutionally preventing from acting to differentiate the lawful from unlawful residents”

              Sorry, I’m not aware of part of the Constitution that says the states can’t “differentiate” lawful and unlawful residents. Can you point it out?

              1. Amendment 14. It’s right there at the end of Section 1.

                1. “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

                  The Constitution doesn’t prevent States from differentiating between lawful and unlawful residents. It prevents them from denying due process and equal protection. But murderers can, and should be, treated differently from non-murderers, once they receive due process. Illegal aliens deserve due process, just as do all who are present in our country, but once due process is provided, with drunken citizens receiving the same protections as drunken aliens, the state has every right to turn unlawful aliens over to the federal authorities for the federal crack at the due process Apple.

                  Any traffic cop can check EVERY person’s immigration status and, if found in violation of federal law, hold them for the proper authority to also provide due process and equal protection, but checking the immigration status of only brown people with Hispanic accents IS violative of the 14th Amendment, but your point that the 14th prevents differentiation of people is specious.

        5. This particular illegal was accessing the civic resource in question because the police arrested him for a narcotics offense. I’m skeptical that he would have felt especially aggrieved about being denied such access in light of the fact that he also had a warrant for failing to appear for a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania.

          Also, the (soon to be, I hope, former) judge is a woman.

          1. Then this is more about commandeering state processes for federal purposes.
            But my point is less about this particular case than about the tactic generally. Denying any group access to the courthouse is bad.

            1. They aren’t “denied access” to the courthouse anymore than they are denied access to housing, or work, or being able to walk on a street or drive a car.

              1. “They aren’t ‘denied access’ to the courthouse”

                In the sense that they can pop by the courthouse any time they like, as long as they wanted a free international trip with overenthusiastic travel agents.

                “anymore than they are denied access to housing, or work, or being able to walk on a street or drive a car.”

                It’s a TINY bit easier for the feds to stake out the courthouses of America than it is to stake out all the houses, or even all the employers. When you start talking about having the streets constantly surveilled, such that illegals are detected and apprehended if they so much as show their faces outdoors, well… I’m not sure you’re describing America the Free anymore.

                1. They can pop by the courthouse any time they like, just like a bank robber with an active warrant for their arrest can.

                  Now, if the feds are the tiniest bit astute, they may realize this is an ideal opportunity to catch that person who has actively broken the law.

                  1. Illegals aren’t bank robbers and our policies on how to treat the are different for a reason.

                    1. No, illegals are people who have broken the United State law. Just like bank robbers, drunk drivers, people who don’t pay their child support, drug dealers, drug smugglers, and more.

                      There is not a clause that says “well, we can only apprehend you in certain locations” when the authorities have a warrant for an individuals arrest or deportation. There is no blanket concept of “This class of law breakers can get into and out of court without having to worry about the cops or immigration apprehending them”

                    2. Look at the gymnastics you need to go through to justify your point of view.

                      First, you choose a level of generality wherein all lawbreaking is the same.
                      Then you indulge in maximal legal formalism, wherein all policies are just and fair so long as they obey the black-letter law.

                      If you argument requires obliterating moral distinctions, maybe what you’re arguing for isn’t very moral.

                    3. The “Gymnastics” are what you would turn the law into.

                      You would make the law into a situation where people with active deportation and arrest warrants can only be arrested on some locations, but not others. Which is crazy.

        6. A great deal of the ‘cruelty’ here is, like in the case of the death penalty, a deliberate product of the law’s opponents trying to make the process so awful people will give up on enforcing the law.

          For instance, family separation is due to court rulings prohibiting detaining children with their adult parents, resulting in a choice of either releasing both, or separating them.

          The judge in this case is sworn to uphold the law, and if he can’t, he should resign.

          1. Naw, Brett, ICE’s policies are on Trump, and that’s where the cruelty comes in.
            Yeah, immigration law being a confusing mess is because it’s a compromise, and there’s some cruelty there.
            But we’ve had Presidents from both parties work under that legal regime and somehow manage not to have it become what it has become under Trump.

            This is Trump’s ICE, and this cruelty is Trump playing to his base.

          2. family separation is due to court rulings prohibiting detaining children with their adult parents, resulting in a choice of either releasing both, or separating them.

            So it is a choice. As is failing to keep track of the separated families, which is incredible. These people are cruel and incompetent assholes, Brett.

            You frequently express disapproval of law enforcement tactics. How about extending some of that skepticism to ICE?

        7. Not “who we are” is a great way of saying nothing.

          1. You can have your pet peeve – we all do. But people seem to know exactly what I mean.

        8. “denying illegals access to that civic resource?”

          Um, they are literally denied access to the entire country.

      2. I might be able to see this if this person was a child whose position was in doubt, or someone who was genuinely sympathetic.

        This was a felon who had already been deported twice and is already banished from the country for the next decade. A repeat offender of the highest order. This is precisely the sort of person that ICE is SUPPOSED to concentrate on.

    2. Considering how many rules you’re willing to bend to get people the death penalty or avoid an assylum hearing or allow some light torture, I don’t think you’re actually cheering for ‘Rule of law!’

      1. Of course not, law is a servant only, not a ruler.

        You don’t really believe in “rule of law” either, or you would not describe federal law enforcement with valid detention orders against someone who twice illegally returned as “trolling for illegals”.

        1. No, I don’t believe in rule of law. Not like you do – I want some flexibility in the law, executive discretion and whatnot.

          I also don’t totemically invoke it as I target blacks and latinos.

          1. “Flexibility” in this context generally means “If you know someone high up, you get your way. And if you’ve irritated someone high up, you get the book thrown at you”

            Then the law ceases to be equal, and instead becomes about who you know.

            1. The experience with mandatory minimums would point otherwise.

              I also think that even if inequitably doled out, allowing the option of mercy is better than allowing none.

              1. The best way around mandatory minimums is prosecutorial discretion, so who do you think is more likely to benefit from a prosecutor’s discretion?

              2. Again, you can have equality before the law, which I suggest, or you can inequality before the law, which you seem suggest.

                Which do you think is better?

              3. “The experience with mandatory minimums would point otherwise.”

                See also, “zero tolerance”.

                In the bureaucracy, the goal is to have all the decisions made in advance, and fairly, and then the bureaucrat simply applies the pre-made decision to the specific facts of each case presented to them. If you give the bureaucrats the authority to make decisions on their own, sometimes you’ll see this discretion abused… the sports star gets no punishment for the same offense the poor minority student with the poor academic record got suspended for.
                So schools took the discretion away… zero tolerance means everybody gets the same punishment, the max punishment, whether it’s appropriate or not.

                Mandatory minimums come from the same source, but in the judiciary rather than in the bureaucracy. People see (or at least perceive) an abuse of discretion, so the discretion is removed.

          2. Nice of you to admit you don’t value the rule of law.

            “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”

            But the alternative to this, in practice, is not mercy for the poor, but instead the rich being above the law.

            Abandoning the rule of law never works out well, no matter how well intentioned it may allegedly be.

            1. “But the alternative to this, in practice, is not mercy for the poor, but instead the rich being above the law.”

              No, not THE alternative, AN alternative. Another alternative is that rich people and their families are lined up behind the hacienda and shot, their wealth distributed to others. When France fell into revolution, nobody was richer than King Louis. Was he “above the law”? No, his head was in a basket on the ground.

              1. Even in cases like that, after the slaughter you find the people leading the mobs are rich.

                1. The lesson there is that you can become rich by leading mobs. If the people who make up “the rich” have changed, then pretending that “the rich” are above the law is, at best, mischaracterization.

        2. Oh, yeah, he was had an “outstanding warrant for drunk driving in Pennsylvania”. Some think drunk driving is dangerous, I guess you don’t.

          1. Yeah, I must love drunk drivers if I defend this. That’s some disingenuous BS especially for a legal blog, Bob.

            As noted above, your selective cry of rule of law even as you advocate for governmental savagery by any means is not a good look.
            Neither is trying to tar any who disagree with your as loving criminals or terrorists.

            1. “Governmental savagery by any means…”??
              Really?
              Should we send the ICE agents home and have cake and ice cream for the illegals?

              1. The problem in this equation isn’t ICE agents. It’s hearings officers. There aren’t nearly enough of them to handle the scope of the illegal alien problem. This creates a situation where illegals are tolerated because we’re already ejecting them as fast as we can, and there aren’t enough deportation hearings available to give one to all the illegals we already have. We can deport about 420,000 or so illegals per year. Which means that if Trump’s big beautiful wall is 100% effective, and 0 new illegals enter the country starting now and lasting forever, we should be able to deport all the illegals within the next 40 years or so.

                1. “There aren’t nearly enough of them to handle the scope of the illegal alien problem.”

                  And this is deliberate. Congress doesn’t want the immigration laws enforced, but dares not openly say so; Saying it openly would be a political death sentence for most of them. So they can’t repeal those laws, they’re too popular.

                  Instead they content themselves with making sure the system is resource starved. Not enough ICE officers, not enough immigration judges, not enough detention facilities, here’s a little money to build some obsolete fencing, you can only use it with the permission of local governments we’ve already confirmed will tell you “no”.

                  It’s a breakdown of the democratic process, and it has been for decades. One of the chief examples of how democracy no longer functions in America on many topics.

                  1. “And this is deliberate. Congress doesn’t want the immigration laws enforced, but dares not openly say so”

                    Nonsense. You’re inferring motive from inaction, but they’re not inactive because they don’t want to move, they’re inactive because they CAN’T move.
                    If you don’t believe me, just run a two-minute mile and lift two tons above your head. I’ll interpret your failure to do these things as total agreement.

                    1. They’ve actually gone out of their way to prohibit spending more than the given amount, after being told it was inadequate. It goes way beyond failure to act.

                      The money they recently appropriated for border barriers specified the use of an obsolete design, and specified that the money had to be spent in particular places, but only if the local governments approved of the fence being built. (Surprise, the specified locations were places where ‘sanctuary’ government are in place.)

                      It’s all part of a decades long pattern of having immigration laws on the books, but making sure they aren’t effectively enforced.

              2. Smooth, I wasn’t just talking about Bob on this particular thread – see my 5:06 pm post.

    3. I await the first comparison to people hiding Jews in 1943.

      Apart from your own, do you mean?

    4. Score point for you. Hyperbole is so much fun to use.

  4. Liberals are a bunch of forked tongued devils.

    They seem to care about the “rule of law” when it comes to the President, who didn’t break any laws, supposed “obstructing justice” their obligation to hold him accountable because “no one is above the law”.

    But when it comes to enforcement of illegal immigration they think it is just fine to outright ignore the law and even to create public policy that openly flaunts the rule of law in so called “sanctuary cities” for example.

    Strange beasts these are and just another example who why we should treat liberalism as a mental illness.

    1. “They seem to care about the “rule of law” when it comes to the President, who didn’t break any laws,”

      You seem confused on this issue. Mr. Trump broke plenty of laws. Consider the scam that was “Trump University”, for example. Fraud is still a crime, Jimmy.

      (You also don’t seem to understand why “sanctuary cities” exist. It’s because the federal government has the sole power to eject illegal immigrants, but chooses not to eject most of them. This leaves the rest as problems for the states, who have to deal with crimes where the illegals are the criminals, but also the ones where they are the witnesses, or the victims. It’s hard to prosecute crimes when the victims and witnesses won’t show up in court. So they have choose between prosecution of crimes that ARE their responsibility to prosecute, and prosecution of offenses that ARE NOT their responsibility to prosecute.

      1. So you are accusing Trump of fraud? I would say Trump University was most likely a failed business venture, but fraud? Come on. You can do better.

        Pollock – you don’t seem to understand the intent of a “sanctuary city”. It is to protect illegals, who are here in violation of federal law, from being lawfully evicted from this country by the federal authorities who have the power to do so. It has nothing to do with “innocent” notions that you cite. It has everything to do with forwarding the radical Leftist agenda of open borders. Just about every politician who supports sanctuary policies will tell you that they think enforcement of immigration law is immoral so they refuse to and active work against its otherwise lawful enforcement.

        1. “I would say Trump University was most likely a failed business venture, but fraud? Come on. You can do better.”

          Just the name alone is fraudulent.

          “you don’t seem to understand the intent of a “sanctuary city”. It is to protect illegals”

          That’s just stupid.

        2. I would say Trump University was most likely a failed business venture, but fraud?

          You would be wrong. To start with it was plainly illegal under NY law to use the word “University” to describe the business. It was also sued for various types of misrepresentation, etc., and ultimately settled all the suits by paying $25 million, despite Trump’s loud proclamations that he never settles lawsuits.

          So yeah. A con, just like Trump. And you’re one of his marks.

    2. Trump breaks laws left and right, seemingly every day. Directing Mnuchin not to release his tax returns, for example. He talks a lot about “fake news,” but in fact the MSM is doing him a huge favor by not spending too much time explaining to their readers/viewers precisely which laws he’s breaking. That’s why ignoramuses like you are all over the place.

      Personally, I don’t have some kind of strange hard-on for the “rule of law.” The rigidity with which we enforce it should vary according to the harms caused by the underlying behavior. The president is using the power of his office to protect the legitimacy of his election in 2016 while leaving the U.S. open to hacking, misinformation, and manipulation by our global rivals. That’s bad. People just trying to make a life here but busted on a drug possession charge (that most libertarians would regard as illegitimate in itself) aren’t as bad.

      1. Exactl,y the MSM doesn’t explain things like why the subpoena for the full Mueller report was in effect demanding Barr to break the law. It was too good of a talking point to tell everyone that Barr can’t the the Dems demanding it know it and are just making partisan talking points.

        Or why it might be a bad thing for legislators who have no specific over site of one individual’s tax return, are justified to demand it. They can refer the matter to the IRS to look at, that is the proper procedure. But the IRS probably wont look at something based on one person’s say when that person has just been convicted of lying to congress (at best, though they were saying they would ask for them during the election, before Cohen said anything, in other words, no valid reason). They might have that power, but I would rather a court determine that than just have the IRS hand over multiple years of tax returns of anyone for flimsy or no reason. That seems to be a bad precedent to set otherwise.

        Why would the MSM explain any of that?

        1. Whether it’s bad or not, the law says they have to turn it over, never mind what you think about it.

          1. Court precedent says that legislative investigations “must be related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress.”

            Seeing as how the Dems, before the election, were saying they were gonna subpoena the tax returns if they won the house, an argument can be made that they have no legitimate reason.

            Will they win? I don’t know, but to say they “have to” turn it over is wrong.

            1. What precedent says that?

              I know there’s black-letter law saying taxes can be subpoenaed at any time.

            2. Campaign statements are irrelevant, per the Supreme Court. Remember the travel ban?

  5. Not that it matters Sarcastr0 but the judge is a she.

    1. This time it’s a she. Next time… there’s going to be a next time, right? It might not be.

  6. I thought the feds couldn’t commandeer state resources.

    Of course, they’ve probably got briefs written explaining that this is totally different, and they can lock up a state judge for letting someone out the rear door rather than releasing them next to a bunch of ICE officers.

    This isn’t about whether the state *should* be doing this, but about whether the feds have the power to do what they’re doing.

    1. A. S. is accused of fleeing justice in Pennsylvania, which could trigger federal intervention, but apparently they’re going for the immigration angle.

      1. 1. There’s a difference between failing to assist and actively obstructing – a difference, as it happens, that is also generally the line between legal and illegal conduct.

        2. The state can certainly commandeer state resources, and the judge violated the state court system’s directive on how to handle these situations.

    2. 1. There’s a difference between failing to assist and actively obstructing – a difference, as it happens, that is also generally the line between legal and illegal conduct.

      2. The state can certainly commandeer state resources, and the judge violated the state court system’s directive on how to handle these situations.

      1. The feds claim the clerk fooled the ICE people into waiting in the wrong place – if that was part of the conspiracy it might go beyond passive non-assistance.

        It certainly looks like a violation of state regulations/laws, enough maybe to get that judge de-judged and who knows what else.

  7. Considering all the focus on the crime of obstruction lately, I’d expect many more people to be shocked and appalled by what this judge is accused of. But so for much if the reaction is meh…

    1. If I were a Massachusettsian (sp?), I’d probably vote against this judge or want her de-judged, but on what basis is the federal government stepping in?

      1. Not a lawyer, but on the basis of her obstructing justice, as is the charge? It’s obviously a federal matter she’s obstructing

        1. Eh, maybe I’m missing something.

      2. The term is, “Masshole.”

        P.S. born in Newton, so the term is self applied.

    2. I think we need a special counsel to investigate all the sanctuary cities that are obstructing justice in the form of actively, well, obstructing federal agents from serving lawful deportation orders. I hear those cities are in collusion with the Russians who are aiding them in these sanctuary polices. Don’t believe me? I’ve got this dossier here of some official looking letters from some Russians that says so.

    3. Considering Barr’s theory of “exoneration,” I would think that any Trump supporter would immediately see that a judge can’t “obstruct” justice if she’s just doing something she’s otherwise legitimately entitled to do (e.g., barring entry, stopping the recording, etc.). But of course we know that “Trump Derangement Syndrome” only works one way…

      1. I’m guessing you’re not actually all that familiar with Barr’s reasoning, just with hostile accounts of it.

        Actions you’re otherwise legally entitled to do, (The judge went well beyond this line, according to the accounts.) can only be obstruction if undertaken with corrupt motives.

        Barr reasoned that you would be unlikely to be able to establish corrupt motivation for Trump’s actions, given that non-corrupt motives were readily available, and that the lack of an underlying crime would have left Trump with no personal need to obstruct the investigations to protect himself.

        Making sure that an illegal immigrant is not lawfully deported IS a “corrupt motive” in this context, as the judge was not in a position to have any right to exercise discretion as to deportations.

        Trump WAS in a position to be entitled to exercise that discretion in cases like Flynn’s.

        1. I’m guessing you’re not actually all that familiar with Barr’s reasoning,..

          I’m guessing you’ve forgotten the unsolicited memo he wrote way back when he was auditioning for the job.

          I understand that there is also this “no underlying crime” theory, which Mueller himself rebutted, and it’s an unduly narrow interpretation of the necessary scienter for obstruction. But there are multiple pieces here. Try and keep up.

          Making sure that an illegal immigrant is not lawfully deported IS a “corrupt motive” in this context, as the judge was not in a position to have any right to exercise discretion as to deportations.

          You don’t seem to grasp that your reasoning here is circular. You’re saying that the judge’s actions constituted “obstruction,” because the judge wanted to “obstruct.”

          1. The judge DID interfere. He went to great lengths to do that, undertaking actions which had no purpose except to see to it that a federal law enforcement agent couldn’t do his job.

            Moreover, some of the actions he took were contrary to state law.

            This contrasts rather seriously with Trump exercising lawful powers to ends which he was, depending on his motives, legally entitled to pursue.

            1. The judge DID interfere.

              So did Trump.

              Glad we cleared that up.

              1. You didn’t read beyond my first sentence, did you?

                1. You mean the judge doesn’t have the authority to decide which door to let someone leave through?

            2. And you, of course, believe his motives were pure and innocent.

              What a joke.

        2. “the lack of an underlying crime would have left Trump with no personal need to obstruct the investigations to protect himself.”

          This would only be true if there was no underlying crime AND Mr. Trump knew with certainty that there was no underlying crime. If there was no underlying crime, but Mr. Trump thought there was, or might be, then he’d still have a motive to obstruct the inquiry.

          1. As Mueller explained, a “corrupt motive” can include motives that have nothing to do with obscuring underlying criminal activity – such as avoiding the appearance that his campaign actively cooperated with the Russians to win the 2016 election.

            1. Alas, there is a defense that resonated for me.

              Trump didn’t obstruct because obstruction is the action of someone who knows what he is doing. As “someone who knows what he is doing” does not seem to ever apply to Mr. Trump, we must concede that utter ineptitude can be inferred as well as nefarious corrupt intent, and it is not a crime to be utterly inept. We’ll just have to ride out a couple more years, and give the job to a grown-up.

            2. But the problem here is that Trump, just as much as anyone else, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He doesn’t have to prove himself innocent, you have to prove he’s guilty.

              It’s really hard to prove somebody had a bad motive for doing something legal, if there’s any possible good motive. Short of a recording of him going, “Bwah ah hah! Watch me urge that Comey go easy on Flynn for criminal reasons!”, you’re stuck reading minds.

              Democrats and TDS sufferers don’t mind reading his mind, and assuming that he has a corrupt motive for everything he does including brushing his teeth after every meal. But that’s not a strong legal position, it’s just TDS.

              1. “the problem here is that Trump, just as much as anyone else, is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

                What’s your authority for this assertion? It certainly doesn’t say any such thing in the Constitution. It says if the Congress impeaches and convicts him, he’s out. Nothing about any presumption.

                1. I’m specifically talking about obstruction of justice charges here, not impeachment.

                  To be sure, Congress could impeach Trump for having a bad toupee, and that he actually had a comb-over would be no defense. But the presumption of innocence is a thing in criminal court.

              2. is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He doesn’t have to prove himself innocent, you have to prove he’s guilty.

                Sure, if he were put on trial. That doesn’t mean anybody has to be such an idiot as to assume he’s innocent under other circumstances.

            3. Could Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich constitute obstruction of justice?

              1. No.

                Next question.

  8. Short of pulling out her cellphone to order him an Uber with a getaway driver, it’s hard to imagine how more comprehensively she might have interfered with this attempted lawful exercise of federal immigration law.

    And then she lied about it to a grand jury? Major league stupid.

    Betcha the bailiff flips and testifies against her.

  9. Am I the only one who is concerned about the fact that at least some of the thing listed involve the judge doing things or ordering this as part of her official duties? Arresting a judge for decisions they made in their official capacity seems all sorts of hinky.

    1. That’s what “under the color of law” means, right? Acting in one’s legal capacity to accomplish illegalities?

      Just because, in his official capacity, he’s entitled to issue orders to the court bailiff, doesn’t mean he’s entitled to order the bailiff to facilitate a felon’s escape from law enforcement officers.

    2. “Arresting a judge for decisions they made in their official capacity seems all sorts of hinky.”

      The you’d hate what they did to this judge.

      1. Bribery is not an official act.

    3. Nothing about the MA state court judge’s authority granted her immunity from the dictates of federal law.

      Moreover, it’s one thing to not assist ICE in the arrest of an undocumented individual, as state authorities are not required to do, but it is quite another to take the referenced affirmative steps to prevent the lawful arrest and escape of the person.

      The facts in this matter appear to be largely undisputed and fairly egregious, including the judge’s violation of MA state court rules and procedures (e.g., turning off the recording device in the courtroom) to assist, if not actually plan, the escape. The fact that the judge was acting under color of state authority made her actions much worse.

      Recall that when this originally occurred, criticism of the judge was near universal, including by many on the left. I guess this was before they believed the worst that would happen would be a negligible slap on the wrist by the relevant judicial conduct board.

      I’m curious of many people here defending the judge would feel the same way if a judge used their authority to assist the escape of a member of the KKK or supremacist militia group from federal arrest for civil rights violations.

      I am also not sympathetic to claims that the judge’s action were little more than minor civil disobedience to fight unjust laws. Unless you support totally open borders, we need to have immigration laws and enforcement. The undocumented individual the judge helped escape was already deported twice, barred entry for years, and had a criminal record. The judge appeared to care more about political activism that the safety and security of the citizens of MA or her position as a symbol of the law.

      1. Maybe she was just emotional and angry.

        If that excuse works for Trump, why not for her?

  10. Does conservatism generate bigots, or merely attract them?

    1. Attracts them, as evidenced by your post.

  11. Here is the problem the Left facing here when it engages in moral relativism relating to its problem with ignoring and obstructing the enforcement of immigration laws. Its sole justification is that immigration laws are immoral. That is it. But what makes them immoral? Boils down to the fact that the Left wants an open borders policy and until we have that as a country any other policy is simply immoral.

    But that same justification can be applied to just about any other public policy. For instance, Antifa and BLM are dangerous, bigoted, racist domestic terrorist organizations. These might be legally constituted and engage in otherwise legal activity occasionally, but we as a society shouldn’t have to tolerate them as they are unAmerican, blah, blah (that is the thing about moral relativism is you don’t really need a strong justification other then “I don’t like it” ) so local prosecutors are going to simply not charge people who assault or target these people with acts of violence. Why? Antifa and BLM and evil so it is justified.

    For some reason I think the Left would not like it if say some Republican stronghold in the Midwest became a “sanctuary city” for pro-American Antifa BLM haters that ran them out of town. Don’t know why that might be, but I think they would have a hard time making a serious justification against that when they are all for ignoring other types of laws.

    1. “Pro-American?”

      No.

  12. State officials are not required to help federal officials enforce federal laws. But they are also not permitted to impede them. In this case, it appears that the state officials crossed the line between merely not helping and actively impeding.

    Cases involving releasing a prisoner into a waiting lynch mob provide potentially relevant perspectives and analogies. Those releasing a prisoner in a way designed to permit evasion of the law cannot disclaim responsibility when they know the consequences of their actions.

    1. The legal principles apply whether one agrees with the federal law the state officials are seeking to impede or disagree with it. The era of lynchings and impeding of desegregation orders provides a long history of state officials impeding federal law, and the cases prohibiting state official from subverting federal officials’ enforcement of federal law are fairly clearly established.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.