Judge turns down plea deal from US attorney

The district court judge accused of allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade capture by federal authorities is not going gently into that goodnight.

The Boston Globe reports that Judge Shelley Joseph turned down a plea offer from US Attorney Andrew Lelling‘s office that would have avoided prosecution and potentially allowed her to remain on the bench.

She faces criminal charge on counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, aiding and abetting obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting obstruction of a federal proceeding.

Joseph’s choice means she will face the possibility of up to 20 years in prison if she were to be convicted. “Our client has pleaded not guilty because she is not guilty,” said her lawyer, Thomas Hoopes.

Joseph is accused of allowing Jose Medina-Perez, who was in the country illegally, escape out the back door of her courthouse when it was made known a plainclothes ICE agent was at the Newton District Court to detain him. Medina-Perez faced deportation following drug charges in Newton and a drunk driving charge in Pennsylvania. He was apprehended by ICE following his escape.

It is unclear if Joseph would have lost her job or license. She is already on unpaid suspension. Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel and chief operating officer for the Massachusetts Bar Association, told the Globe he believes “there is great likelihood that she could lose her ability to practice law” with the acceptance of a plea deal.

Opinions on Joseph’s decision and Lelling’s indictment are varied. Depending on who you ask, she’s either Jesus or Judas.

Former Massachusetts US attorney Michael J. Sullivan, who supports Lelling’s decision to charge Joseph, said he was “shocked” she didn’t take it. He defended Lelling’s decision-making on the issue, calling his ethics “fair and balanced.” Similarly, Ralph Boyd, a former US assistant attorney general, hailed Lelling’s “principled stand.”

But over at WBUR, Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge, had some other thoughts. She likened the reach of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement into state courthouses to that of the Fugitive Slave Acts, laws from the 18th and 19th century that allowed for the capture and return of runaway slaves. Her argument centers on the premise that allowing ICE to capture someone on their detainer list in a state courthouse would infringe upon the Commonwealth’s right to not having state authority commandeered by the feds.

Retired Supreme Judicial Court Justice Geraldine Hines said a sitting judge being indicted for criminal behavior has not occurred since 1787, when a judge was found guilty of libel for defending farmers involved in the armed uprising of Shays’ Rebellion. He lost his job and served seven months in jail.

SARAH BETANCOURT


BEACON HILL

A New Bedford charter school plan was filed with the Legislature as a local option bill, but it’s triggered a statewide debate about charters that has split the municipality’s delegation on Beacon Hill and threatens to undermine the legislation. (CommonWealth)

The Senate passed its fiscal 2020 budget. (State House News)

Within six weeks, the House plans to take up legislation to enable unions to collect fees from non-union workers who benefit from the union’s work on arbitration cases, which was a flashpoint last year after the US Supreme Court restricted union’s ability to collect payment from non-members. (WGBH)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Brookline is set to become the first municipality in the country to offer free menstrual products in public restrooms — and not just women’s restrooms. (MassLive)

Monica Cannon-Grant of Violence in Boston Inc. and David J. Harris of Harvard Law School say Boston has to provide funding for violence prevention. (CommonWealth)

Towns on Cape Cod are purchasing medical and communications equipment to prepare for another summer of swimmers contending with sharks offshore. (WBUR)

In his weekly column, DigBoston editor Jason Pramas dives into how Cambridge City Councilors can impact a complicated courthouse deal.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Moody’s says Illinois and New Jersey are the two states least prepared to weather the next recession. (Governing)

A MetroWest Daily News editorial condemns the rise of anti-semitism in Massachusetts and across the country. Coincidentally, the Dorchester Vietnam Veterans Memorial near the UMass Boston campus is defaced with a swastika and shrubs and flags are uprooted and thrown in the water. The damage came shortly after the memorial was fixed up in the wake of an earlier act of vandalism in October. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A company called Leaf Relief LLC, which obtained a host community agreement from the city of Brockton in October last year, is proposing a state-legalized adult use marijuana store at 165 Westgate Drive, located directly across from the Westgate Mall. (Brockton Enterprise)

EDUCATION

A dinosaur fossil footprint is donated to Amherst College, 17 years after poachers tried to make off with it. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The State Supreme Judicial Court has found that Pembroke Hospital wrongly held a patient against his will after it was unable to find a family member to take him. Justice Kimberly Budd ruled that the hospital violated state law by failing to discharge the patient after a three-day mental health civil commitment in 2015 and was wrong to then take him to South Shore Hospital for a second opinion later used in court to secure a longer six-month commitment. (Patriot Ledger)

While the number of opioid-related deaths across the state have declined the past two years, Barnstable County saw an increase over 2017. The Cape Cod Times breaks down the numbers of opioid-related fatal overdoses on the Cape and Islands.

Massachusetts General Hospital said it is acquiring an Exeter, New Hampshire,-based community health system. (Boston Globe)

ARTS/CULTURE

The Boston-based Architectural Heritage Foundation buys Worcester Memorial Auditorium for $450,000 and plans to spend $94 million redeveloping it. (Telegram & Gazette)

Fallout continues from allegations of racism at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, with Mayor Marty Walsh, City Council President Andrea Campbell, and other leaders decrying the episode involving minority students visiting the museum from a Boston charter school. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

The Salem City Council will consider expanding its bike-share contract with Zagster to include as many as 250 electric scooters. The city would collect 10 cents on each ride. (Salem News)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

John Henry, owner of the Boston Globe and principal owner of the Red Sox, says he toyed — at two different moments — with the idea of trying to add the $2.6 billion Everett casino to his portfolio of local goodies. (Boston Globe)

The state Gaming Commission fined MGM Springfield $100,000 for “repeated noncompliance” by allowing underage patrons to gamble and drink at the casino. (Boston Herald)

The Cannabis Control Commission approves the first sale of a marijuana company. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The Boston Police Department and the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office must notify their officers and prosecutors that people have the right to secretly film police officers when they are on-duty and in public, Federal Judge Patti Saris ordered. (WGBH)

Federal prosecutors are investigating the state prison system’s use of solitary confinement and its treatment of elderly and severely ill inmates, the Globe reports.

Police have executed a search warrant and reviewed surveillance footage as they seek to learn more about who brought 13-year-old Chloe Ricard to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced dead on Monday. (Eagle-Tribune)

Haverhill District Court Judge Patricia Dowling ordered the suppression of evidence police found when they searched two Haverhill highway workers and another former city employee who were allegedly engaged in a drug deal. (Eagle-Tribune)

MEDIA

GateHouse Media lays off two of the remaining three reporters at Worcester Magazine. (MassLive)