Massachusetts judge rejects plea deal in ICE evasion case

Shelley Joseph, the Massachusetts state judge who has been charged with helping an illegal immigrant evade an ICE official in her courthouse, has rejected a plea deal from federal prosecutors. Joseph was suspended from the bench after her arrest.

Joseph’s alleged actions have caused enormous controversy in the Bay State, raising difficult questions of federal-state relations, access and safety in state courthouses, and a wealth of moral and ethical considerations.

MassLive has a full report for those following this story closely.

2 thoughts on “Massachusetts judge rejects plea deal in ICE evasion case”

  1. Important, and even amazing. It is not so clear. According to the related articles, all that was while judicial process or hearing actually took place. So, how can one federal agent be present or intervene let alone ? It is against any legal precedent and custom. A judge must remain independent in his discharge of functions. That is why he does enjoy immunity. Even for enforcing the law, such federal agents, couldn’t interrupt such hearing.

    Correct, judges enjoy immunity from civil action according to the jurisprudence, not from criminal action. But the same principle, should be applied, let alone while actually a hearing takes place. Here I quote from recent case ( In the sixth circuit, HLV v. Van Buren ):

    Judicial immunity shields judicial officers not simply from a judgment awarding damages—but also from the suit itself. Id. at 11. And the doctrine is expansive, applying even when a party alleges that the judge acted maliciously or violated its constitutional rights. Bright v. Gallia Cty., 753 F.3d 639, 648–49 (6th Cir. 2014)


    Indeed, the Supreme Court cautioned that judges would act “timid[ly]” without immunity and that this behavior “would manifestly detract from independent and impartial adjudication.” Id. Immunizing judges from civil liability helps prevent that reality by allowing judges to “exercise their functions with independence and without fear of consequence.” Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). But there is a cost: one incidental effect of judicial immunity is that judges who have abused their position may escape civil liability.

    And :

    There are two exceptions to judicial immunity, and HLV claims that both exceptions apply here. First, a judge may be held liable for “nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge’s judicial capacity.” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11 (citation omitted). Second, a judge may be held liable for judicial acts he takes “in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.”

    End of quotation:

    So, in light of such doctrine, how could such thing happen? It is up to federal agents to bear the blame, over the judge( if factually correct here, but it seems so). For, their presence, could or should disturb correct and appropriate hearing. They had to wait, outside the courtroom.



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