Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey Divided on Indictment of Newton Judge - NECN
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Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey Divided on Indictment of Newton Judge

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    Healey Criticizes US Attorney's Indictment of Judge

    Charges against a Newton judge for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade ICE agents.

    (Published Monday, April 29, 2019)

    Calling the action radical and unprecedented, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey blasted U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling's indictment of a Newton judge.

    Federal prosecutors allege that Judge Shelly Joseph helped an undocumented immigrant escape from Newton District Court last year before U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement could move in.

    "It will have a chilling effect," Healey said. "We don't want people to be scared from coming to court."

    Healey said this is not a federal case and that ICE is interfering with the way the courts conduct business.

    "This is just grandstanding and overreach, and I think it's politically motivated," she said.

    Gov. Charlie Baker says this issue is not about immigration, but rather a question that has to do with the law — best answered in the courts.

    "I don't think it was politically motivated," Baker said. "ICE has a job to do, and their job is to, hopefully, deal with very dangerous people who are here in this country illegally."

    "We don’t get to pick and choose which federal laws or which state laws we follow," NBC10 Boston legal analyst Michael Coyne said.

    In the indictment, the obstruction of justice, the aiding and abetting and the conspiracy charges all support Lelling's actions, according to Coyne.

    "It is the obligation of our court personnel to comply with ICE and to recognize legitimate warrants, even if we personally might disagree with the policy," Coyne said.

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    That said, Coyne acknowledges a significant uptick in the number of ICE arrests in courthouses since the start of the Trump administration.

    "It does send a chilling effect, if they fear, rightfully, that ICE will be there to take them out of the country," he said.

    The district attorneys of Middlesex County and Suffolk County announced a federal lawsuit against ICE Monday over the courthouse arrests.

    Coyne suggests the upside to this immigration clash is that it might force all parties to sit down and work out a solution in a much more orderly and cooperative way.

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