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Who is Judge Shelley Joseph?

Newton District Court Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph leaving federal court on Thursday.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Shelley Richmond Joseph, the Newton District Court judge who is facing charges for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant elude a federal agent in April 2018, had not been on the job long when the incident happened.

She was nominated by Republican Governor Charlie Baker in September 2017 and approved unanimously by the Governor’s Council the next month.

No one spoke in opposition at her Oct. 11, 2017, nomination hearing after several witnesses spoke on her behalf, according to records from the Governor’s Council.

Joseph, 51, is a 1989 graduate of Boston College, where she majored in political science and romance languages. She received her law degree in 1992 from the New England School of Law.


After graduating from law school, she worked on the 1992 Clinton campaign, then worked a brief stint as legislative counsel for State Senator Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat.

She joined the state attorney general’s office in 1993, serving as an assistant attorney general until 2000 under Scott Harshbarger and Thomas Reilly, according to a resume and answers to a questionnaire she provided to the Governor’s Council.

At the attorney general’s office, her assignments included working in the Family and Community Crimes Bureau, the Business and Fair Labor Protection Bureau, and the Criminal Bureau, the documents said.

After leaving the attorney general’s office, she spent a short time as an associate at the Boston firm Swartz & Swartz before hanging out her own shingle as a solo practitioner until 2003.

In 2003, she formed the firm Joseph & Joseph with her husband, Scott Joseph. The firm was a “partnership concentrating in criminal defense, real estate, personal injury, business, and trust and estate law,” the documents said.

“My practice has focused on criminal defense matters in district and superior court, restraining orders, administrative hearings, and school hearings,” she wrote in the documents. “My typical clients consist of people under investigation for or charged with criminal offenses.”


She said she appeared in court “regularly,” estimating that she spent 98 percent of her time in state court and 2 percent in federal. She noted that she had worked as an adjunct law professor several times over the years.

She also listed a number of volunteer activities over the years, including being an executive board member of Natick Together for Youth, a board member of Temple Israel in Natick, a member of the Brookline Commission on the Status of Women, a member of the Democratic State Committee, and a member of a Natick school PTO.

Her final response on the council’s questionnaire was, “I am honored to have been nominated . . . and want to thank the Governor’s Council for the opportunity to appear before them to answer any questions.”

Documents on file at the Governor’s Council also included a recommendation letter from Michael Kozu, deputy director of Project RIGHT Inc., who lauded Joseph for her work as an assistant attorney general with the Grove Hall Safe Neighborhood Initiative.

“Through her effective work as a prosecutor, the GHSNI made significant progress in addressing public safety and quality of life issues in the Grove Hall neighborhood of Roxbury and Dorchester in the city of Boston. . . . Her vast experience will provide her the foundation to be an effective Judge in addressing the challenges that come before her,” Kozu wrote.


“Ms. Richmond Joseph is able to work with a variety of people and will be a significant addition as a Judge,” he wrote.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report.