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Judge Shelley Joseph was charged with helping a man living in the US illegally escape from an ICE agent waiting in the courthouse lobby.

Newton Circuit Court Judge Shelley Joseph leaves federal court in 2019.

Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe

The suspension of a judge accused of helping an undocumented immigrant escape from a federal agent was lifted this week, clearing her way back to the bench.

Newton Circuit Court Judge Shelley Joseph was accused of helping a man living in the United States illegally escape from court in April 2018 while an Immigration and Customs (ICE) agent waited in the lobby. The agent came to the courthouse to detain the immigrant.

On Wednesday, more than four years after the incident, the Supreme Court ordered Joseph reinstated, Boston Globe reported. The court ruled that Joseph’s suspension was “based solely on the fact that she was charged with alleged misconduct in the performance of her judicial duties.”

In September, federal prosecutors dismissed the charges against Joseph.

“I have concluded that the interests of the judiciary are best served by a review of this case before a body that oversees the conduct of Massachusetts state court judges, rather than continuing a federal criminal prosecution,” said Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha. and statement then.

Cunha was assigned to oversee the case after Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins withdrew. Cunha demanded that Joseph refer him to a state agency that is investigating allegations of misconduct by jurors. The case is pending before the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Joseph was suspended in 2019 when the Massachusetts State Attorney’s Office indicted her and a retired clerk on charges of obstruction of justice.

“The suspension has been in effect for a long time and she is now pleased to resume her duties and is grateful to the Supreme Court for lifting this suspension,” said Joseph’s attorney Michael Keating, Globe this week. “I think she can go where the district court wants her to serve.”

The saga began when an ICE agent was sent to a Newton courthouse to apprehend a Dominican man who had been deported twice from the US. The man was banned from entering the country until 2027, prosecutors said at the time.

Joseph’s clerk asked the agent to leave the courtroom and wait in a nearby lobby, authorities said at the time. The agent was told the suspect would be released into the lobby. Prosecutors said courtroom deputy Wesley MacGregor brought the suspect downstairs and released him through the back door. The suspect was arrested after about a month.

According to the Associated Press, Joseph admitted specific facts about the incident in her September contract. The judge said she knew an ICE agent was waiting to take custody of the suspect. Joseph also admitted to instructing the court clerk to turn off the recording device while she was talking to the defense attorney and the prosecutor. The attorney asked Joseph to let his client go downstairs with an interpreter, the AP reported, and Joseph agreed. Not long after the suspect went downstairs, MacGregor opened the door and let him escape.

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