PORTLAND, OR — An Oregon judge is under fire after officials say she helped an illegal alien slip out of her courtroom in an effort to evade arrest by ICE officials.
According to a report published by KPTV (http://www.kptv.com/story/34630538/local-judge-being-investigated-for-possibly-helping-illegal-immigrant-escape-ice-agents), Multnomah County Judge Monica Heeranz was notified by court staff that ICE agents were waiting outside her courtroom to apprehend Diddier Pacheco Salazar, a 22-year-old Mexican national who was inside her courtroom to face charges relating to driving under the influence.
But instead of handing Salazar over to ICE officials, investigators say Heeranz notified Salazar of a private exit at the courthouse.
“I prepped my client. I said, ‘I don’t know if they’re going to pick you up outside or what, but here’s how to prepare,'” John Schlosser, Salazar’s court appointed lawyer, told local paper the Willamette Week (http://www.wweek.com/news/2017/02/27/a-multnomah-county-judge-allegedly-helped-an-undocumented-immigrant-escape-ice-through-her-chambers/). “After the court appearance, I went out in the hallway and sat. My client never came out. I can’t say that I’m surprised he didn’t come out, but I gave him his options, and assume he had to have been escorted out some other way.”
Herranz, who is also on the board of directors of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, remains on the bench but is now the subject of an internal investigation by Chief Judge Nan Waller.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams, who was present at the courthouse at the time, claims he saw Herranz allow Salazar to leave through her private entrance and calls her actions troubling.
“I felt that it was inappropriate and delegitimizes the work of ICE agents who are out there doing their jobs,” said Williams.
“When you’re talking about the judicial system – whether it’s federal or by state – you have an expectation that people are going to abide by the law and not take steps based on their own motivations, their own politics – whatever the motivation was.”
Salazar was arrested two weeks after the incident and is now in custody in Tacoma, Washington.