An Oregon judge is being investigated after she allegedly helped an illegal immigrant elude ICE agents in January by guiding the man through a private entrance at the courthouse.
Multnomah County Judge Monica Heeranz was notified by court staff that ICE agents were waiting outside her courtroom to possibly apprehend Diddier Pacheco Salazar, a 22-year-old Mexican national attending a DUI hearing, U.S. Attorney Billy Willaims said.
Specific details about what happend inside the courtroom next is not clear. But Salazar reportedly somehow managed to leave the room using an employee exit.
“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 a local paper.
“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.”
Salazar was arrested two weeks after the incident.
ICE agents decided not to investigate Herranz, who is also on the board of directors of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, but Chief Judge Nan Waller is conducting an internal investigation.
Waller told Fox 12 Oregon she wants to figure out what happened before discussing the situation.
Williams calls Herranz’s alleged actions troubling.
“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.”
WENT OUT PRIVATE JUDGES DOOR
Every courtroom in the building has three doors: one public entrance from the hallway, one private entrance the judge uses, and a third door through which in-custody inmates are ushered from the jail.
“So what happened with the individual in question was that he was allowed to use one of those (other) two doors to elude being taken into custody,” Williams said, referring to the judge’s entrance and the jail inmate entrance.
Marcille, the court administrator, said that while there are no official rules about who should use which door when entering and exiting courtrooms, there are common practices.
Herranz is a pro temp judge appointed by the Supreme Court as a staff position, as opposed to an elected official, said Marcille, who added that she and Multnomah County Circuit Presiding Judge Nan Waller are spearheading an internal investigation.