Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is calling for the temporary dismissal of a state judge who allegedly helped an undocumented immigrant escape immigration officials who were in a courthouse awaiting his imprisonment by a state grand jury, the others Court officials helped mediate Jose Medina-Perez (38) and the Dominican Republic to slip out of a back door of the courthouse, while immigration and customs agents detained a prisoner for his arrest. The incident occurred in early April.
"I do not think she should listen to criminal cases until the federal case is resolved," Baker told reporters at the State House as quoted by the Boston Globe. "Look, judges should not interfere with the judiciary."
Medina-Perez, whose real name is Oscar Manuel Peguero, faced a local drug complaint. He also reportedly had a passing arrest warrant for drunken driving in Pennsylvania.
Relying on an audio file in the courtroom of a bank conference between the judge, the prosecutor and the defendant's attorney reported Globe on Sunday the three discussed the fact that ICE was looking for Medina-Perez.
An important part of the bank conference was not recorded because the judge ordered a clerk to turn off the audio recorder in the courtroom. When the recording was resumed, the prosecutor reported that Globe had asked the judge to drop the fugitive warrant because the Pennsylvania mug did not accord with Medina-Perez. The local drug allegation did not demand that the defendant be taken into custody.
Soon thereafter, Medina-Perez was taken out of the courtroom by his defense attorney and dismissed by a court hearing, thereby avoiding ICE. [1
The Globe added:
"The federal state court's investigations are extraordinary and highlight the high political pressure between states' authorities and federal officials who have been instructed to take action against undocumented immigrants."
Beginning This year, ICE head director Thomas Homan issued a directive that allowed agents to go to federal, state and local courts to arrest unauthorized immigrants, despite immigrants and some judges, including US District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston and the California Supreme Judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye objected. One condition is that the court staff may not support or hinder the federal immigration authorities. Another requirement is that all court hearings should be recorded.
The judge is a former prosecutor and defense lawyer who was arrested by Gov in October 2017. Baker was ordered to the bank.
NPR has contacted the judge and prosecutor At the time of publication, no response had been received.