Monica Herranz is facing internal review and is has formal complaints from federal prosecutor after allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant, Diddier Pacheco Salazar, a Mexico-born construction worker, elude ICE last month. He was in court to plead guilty to a DUI. She helped the young man escape capture by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements agents by allowing him to exit through an employee door. This effort to evade the law did not help this getaway actually get away from officials and ICE. The plain-clothes ICE agents were waiting outside of the courtroom on the third floor of the Justice Center. He was warned by his court appointed attorney that he has to face the law and go to court to face charges, but that there was also a chance of him getting deported in the process.
None of the parties contacted by WW will say exactly what happened next. But multiple sources confirm the outlines: At least one defendant in the courtroom that day avoided federal immigration agents by leaving through an entrance usually reserved for court employees. On the bench in the courtroom that day was Monica Herranz, who is also on the board of directors of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association. Herranz is what’s known as a court referee: essentially a contract judge who handles lower-level criminal, civil and family court cases. Herranz declined to speak to WW. Her boss, Waller, also declined to discuss the incident but said she was gathering facts to review whether any policies were violated and, if so, would decide on an appropriate remedy. About a week after the incident, Portland ICE officials told U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams about how Pacheco Salazar eluded capture. Williams was concerned that a local judge may have kept federal agents from making an arrest.