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Press Release

Statement From United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha Regarding United States v. Joseph

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha announces that, in accordance with an agreement reached with Massachusetts state District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, Judge Joseph has today referred herself to the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct, a forum that is designed to investigate and address judicial misconduct and to make final recommendations on discipline to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the state’s highest judicial body. As part of this agreement, Judge Joseph has also made factual admissions that the Commission can consider as part of its review, along with the public allegations previously made in this case.

Former court officer and co-defendant Wesley MacGregor, who is no longer employed by the Massachusetts state court system, has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States with respect to the single count of perjury with which he is charged.  

In light of these agreements, the United States has filed a motion to dismiss three of the four counts of the pending indictment, and to defer prosecution on the final count against Mr.  MacGregor. This will resolve the entirety of the pending federal prosecution. 

“This case is about the conduct of a sitting state court judge, on the bench, in the course of her judicial duties. Its purpose has been to shed light on, and, as warranted, to secure accountability for that conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Cunha. “After I was assigned to oversee this matter, I undertook a full and comprehensive review of the evidence, the applicable law, and relevant equitable and prudential factors. Having done so, I have concluded that the interests of justice are best served by review of this matter before the body that oversees the conduct of Massachusetts state court judges, rather than in a continued federal criminal prosecution. The requirement that Judge Joseph refer herself to the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct and make certain factual admissions will ensure that review takes place.”

Judge Joseph and Mr. MacGregor were indicted in April 2019 in the District of Massachusetts on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly preventing an ICE Officer from taking custody of an alien defendant. Mr. MacGregor was also charged with one count of perjury.

Mr. Cunha, the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, was assigned to oversee this matter by the Department of Justice upon recusal of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Updated September 22, 2022