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Dismissal of chilling case against Newton judge long overdue

Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph exited Federal Court in Boston on April 25, 2019.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Years and doubtless tens of thousands of tax dollars and legal expenses later, the Department of Justice has dismissed the misbegotten and frivolous obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges brought by Donald Trump’s Justice Department against Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph and former court officer Wesley MacGregor (“DOJ strikes agreement with Newton judge,” Metro, Sept. 23). This move was long overdue.

The notion that some crime was committed here was always nonsense. All the judge did was exercise her discretion and good judgment to let a defendant walk out of her courtroom, in the process declining to act as an effective agent of federal customs-enforcement officers. The feds picked the defendant up shortly thereafter. I defy Trump’s former US attorney Andrew Lelling or anyone else to tell me where the crime is here.


Moreover, the Mueller Report, diligent reporting and insider accounts, and the Mar-a-Lago document investigation unfolding in public view present overwhelming evidence suggesting that Trump is a serial obstructer of justice and that he deliberately weaponized his Justice Department to go after political foes and others who disagreed with his policies. That such an administration could have accused the judge and officer here of obstruction of justice remains mind-boggling and chilling in equal measure.

Joseph and MacGregor did the right thing. Congratulations and good luck to them.

John O’Connor


The writer is a lawyer and has served as a judicial clerk with the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. The views expressed here are his own.