A judge in Oregon is being accused of helping an illegal immigrant escape after he was in court for drunk driving. Judge Monica Herranz realized that ICE was waiting outside to deport the official, and is accused of sneaking him out through her private exit.
Diddier Pacheco Salazar, 22, went into the courtroom with his lawyer, but never came back out.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams accused Herranz of helping the illegal immigrant escape. She is now under internal investigation. Williams says either Herranz or a staff member that knew the exits of the building, showed Salazar out.
This comes after President Trump made deportation laws stricter, insisting ICE arrest any illegal immigrants they find, focusing on those with a criminal record. Salazar falls under that, as he was convicted guilty in court for a DUI.
The Daily Mail reports:
Diddier Pacheco Salazar, 22, appeared before Judge Monica Herranz to plead guilty in a DUI case on January 27 in Multnomah County, Oregon.
Salazar entered the courtroom with his lawyer but never came back out again.
Herranz is now under internal investigation after U.S. Attorney Billy Williams accused the judge of letting Salazar leave through her private entrance after staff realized immigration and customs enforcement agents were waiting for him.
Every courtroom in the Multnomah County Circuit Court has three doors – one for the public, a private judge entrance and one for inmates to be brought in from jail.
Williams told KOIN the only explanation was that Herranz – who is on the board of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association – or a member of her staff helped Salazar to leave through another door.
ICE agents brought the matter to Williams after the incident allowed Salazar to evade the immigration officials.
It occurred just days after Donald Trump signed an executive order to start building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to crack down on the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
‘I felt that it was inappropriate and delegitimizes the work of ICE agents who are out there doing their jobs,’ Williams told Fox 12.
‘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.’
Salazar, a Mexican-born construction worker, was charged on January 1 with a DUI and initially pleaded not guilty.
He changed his plea at his second court appearance on January 27 in exchange for a deferred sentence and participation in a diversion program.
Salazar ended up being arrested two weeks later when he returned for another court appearance. He is currently being held in Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Washington.
ICE agents decided not to pursue a criminal investigation against Judge Herranz, but she is being investigated internally by Chief Judge Nan Waller.