You may recall Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph from some stories earlier this year. She’s the one who conspired with others in her court to delay ICE agents who were there to detain a criminal illegal alien while they helped him slip out a back door. She performed these actions while sitting at the bench.
She was suspended without pay shortly after that while the matter was investigated. In May of this year, she filed a motion to have her pay restored. Well, guess what. The state Supreme Court granted her request this week. How wonderful for her. (CBS Boston)
The judge charged with helping an immigrant escape a federal agent waiting to arrest him at a courthouse will have her salary reinstated, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled. Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph was suspended on April 25 after she was indicted on federal charges of obstruction of justice.
“Our order suspending Judge Joseph without pay should be vacated and that instead she should be suspended with pay, and receive all salary and other benefits that would have been due to her if this order had been made on April 25, 2019,” said Tuesday’s court hearing.
So she’s not only back on the payroll but will have all of her “missed” pay dating back to the original suspension returned to her. She must be so happy.
The justification the court used in making this decision seems sketchy at best. They bought the argument that suspending her pay before she went to trial “goes against the presumption of innocence.” This is pretty incredible when you consider that the rest of the people in the courtroom at the time of the original incident all agree as to what happened. Heck, even Joseph herself isn’t claiming she didn’t do it. She’s simply arguing that she had the right to help the prisoner escape.
Keep in mind that she didn’t pull this trick off single-handedly. She sent someone to delay the ICE agents, had a bailiff use his access card to unlock the back door and even ordered the clerk to stop recording what was being said in the courtroom. She knew she was doing something wrong and altered official records to try to cover it up.
We should also consider what this ruling means for everyone else in Massachusetts. I take it this means that nobody working in the public sector can have their pay suspended while awaiting trial. (This wouldn’t happen in the private sector because you’d simply be fired.) So teachers who are found to be having sex with their students must be paid while the union fights their termination? Treasurers discovered embezzling official funds get to keep collecting paychecks until a guilty verdict is reached?
This sets a terrible precedent. One has to wonder if the justices on the State Supreme Court would have reached the same decision if it wasn’t a fellow judge being suspended.