News outlets around the country are reporting that Judge Monica Herranz assisted a Mexican illegal alien to help him avoid Federal apprehension by allowing him to use a staff-only exit from her courtroom. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were waiting outside Judge Herranz’s courtroom to detain the Mexican national after he finished his state court business when the judge allowed the man to use an exit not available to the general public.
Herranz is Hispanic, speaks Spanish, and is a Latino advocate on the board of directors of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association (OHBA).
It appears that Herranz’s conduct may appear to be a violation of Federal law. 8 U.S. Code § 1324 makes it a crime to knowingly or recklessly conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building. However, local the U.S. Attorney’s office is very aware of the sympathies many people have for Hispanics in the community. U.S. Attorney Billy Williams quickly gave informal immunity to Herranz, and announced his office would not be investigating Herranz for unlawful conduct or criminal charges. However, even if not prosecuted criminally, Herranz’s conduct may be a violation of the Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct.
Herranz disabled or deleted her LinkedIn profile soon after the incident, and is currently under internal investigation by the Presiding Judge of the Multnomah County Circuit Court to determine whether she violated any county or state court policies.