Judge Accused of Helping a Defendant Evade ICE Can’t Lean on Judicial Immunity – Yet

A judge from the state district court can’t rely on immunity to judicial proceedings to stay out of a trial for obstruction of justice allegations According to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Shelly Joseph has been charged with obstruction following her alleged role in helping the man get away from immigration authorities after he left her Newton, Massachusetts courthouse in 2018. She claims she enjoys “absolute judiciary immunity” however, she was found to be in violation of the First Circuit held that the privilege is not applicable. In the meantime, it’s not.

Judge Pretends to Block ICE Arrest

On April 2, 2018 on April 2, 2018, Judge Joseph was in charge of the arraignment of a person identified as “A.S.” A.S. was an immigrant with no documentation who had twice been deported and had been unable to return in this country until 2027. U.S. until 2027. After a search of the police databases across the nation showed the status of his immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an immigration detainer.

A ICE agent was at the courthouse during A.S’s hearing to bring the defendant into federal custody in case the state decides to let him go. The judge Joseph is said to have directed the clerk of her court to inform that the agent to leave the courtroom. The clerk advised the ICE agent that should A.S. were released, they would leave by the main lobby of the courthouse.

When the judge allowed A.S. after his arraignment A.S. left the courthouse using “a rear sally-port entry.” The government asserts that this was an elaborate scheme devised by Judge Joseph to assist A.S. evade ICE. The government claims that the recording system in the courtroom was shut off for “nearly an hour” as Judge Joseph talked to counsel about the alleged scheme, which is in contravention of Massachusetts the rules of court (if it is true).

The federal authorities have charged Judge Joseph as well as her now retired clerk of the court with obstruction and conspiracy. The defendants both sought to dismiss their cases, appealing at the First Circuit when the district court decided to deny the appeal.

Does Judicial Immunity Block Criminal Charges?

Judge Joseph asserts that judicial immunity protects her from prosecution since she acted in a role as a judge by deciding to discharge A.S. from state custody. Like the principles of sovereign immunity as well as the doctrine of qualified immunity, judicial immunity shields courts clerks, judges as well as court reporters from responsibility for their actions during the execution of their duties. The idea behind immunity permits judges to carry out their duties in peace, without having to worry about being retaliated against by litigants or lawyers that appear before them. It does not shield judicial personnel from being subjected to a legaltrial.

A amicus document that was filed with the First Circuit by a group of former Massachusetts judges states that “the courtroom as well as the courtroom’s spaces are in the jurisdiction of the judge” as per the Supreme Court’s ruling on Sheppard in Sheppard v. Maxwell.

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The amici contend that the conduct of Judge Joseph was “a essential exercise in court supervision over the courts” which is not a crime that should be investigated. They also argue that the judiciary’s disciplinary procedures will handle any errors that are that are made while exercising the control. “As former judges, weare] able to say with certainty that if the prosecution will be allowed to continue and is allowed to proceed, the consequences for the Massachusetts judiciary are devastating regardless of whether the judge Joseph was ultimately cleared.”

Judicial Immunity Do Not Entitle the Right to Not Be Prosecuted

The First Circuit reviewed the case in United States v. Joseph . The panel’s writer the judge William Kayatta seemed to hint that the allegations against Judge Joseph are over the top. “The United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts apparently decided that the events described above were better dealt with through the filing of a criminal case instead of a shot-over-the bow visit at the Courthouse.”

However, the First Circuit denied Judge Joseph’s request for a pretrial review saying that “judicial immunity — even if it is applicable in this particular criminal matter — doesn’t give a person a legal right not to be tried and can be used as the justification for interlocutory review.”

The case of Midland Asphalt v. United States, the Supreme Court held that an claim to a right not to be subject to trial has to be supported by “an explicit, constitutional or statute-based assurance that trial won’t be held.” The court concluded that the arguments of Judge Joseph were based on common law, but failed to resolve that the Midland Asphalthurdle, the First Circuit held that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the court’s ruling.

“We therefore deny the appeals of these defendants, without offering any opinions regarding the merits of the charges or defenses involved in this seemingly unusual prosecutorial proceeding.”

It appears that the judge Joseph has to reserve the argument for trials.

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