She violated her oath of office.
Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to tell the Trial Court that he does not want Judge Shelley Joseph hearing criminal cases amid a federal investigation into whether she helped an undocumented immigrant evade federal immigration authorities.
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling convened a grand jury to look into whether Joseph, a Baker-appointed judge on the Newton District Court bench, violated the law by allowing a man facing drug charges and a federal immigration detainer to leave the court out of a back door while a federal agent waited by the front door.
Baker said Monday that he will await the results of the federal inquiry, but said Joseph should not be hearing and making decisions in criminal cases until the investigation wraps up.
“Look, judges are not supposed to be in the business of obstructing justice and as far as I can tell, based on the facts as they were presented, she clearly violated the court’s own policies with respect to the way they’re supposed to handle detainers that involved federal immigration enforcement,” he said.
The governor said it’s up to the court system to keep Joseph off certain cases, but claimed that there is precedent for such a decision. He said he would be relaying his thoughts to the court later Monday.
“I don’t believe she should be hearing criminal cases until that federal case is resolved,” he said.
The Globe reported that during an April 2 sidebar conversation with a state prosecutor and defense attorney, Joseph said, “ICE is going to get him,” and suggested continuing the case before instructing a court employee to turn off the audio recording system.
The defendant – a citizen of the Dominican Republic whom the Globe reported had been deported from the United States twice before was – was allowed to leave the court out a back door and briefly evaded authorities. He was arrested later in April in Roslindale and freed on bond by an immigration judge. His case is pending, the Globe said.