Judge allegedly aids escape of illegal immigrant

April 30, 2017

An Oregon judge is under investigation for helping an illegal immigrant charged with a DUI leave the Multnomah County Court to avoid arrest by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

Monica Herranz allegedly helped Diddier Pacheco, a 22 year-old undocumented Mexican-born construction worker, escape through her own private entrance while federal agents were outside waiting to deport him.

The judge is under internal investigation by the Multnomah County Court Administration and is said to be cooperating with investigators. Federal law makes it illegal to hide illegal aliens in any way, shape or form.

ICE officials met with Billy Williams, the U.S. Attorney in Portland, asking him not to launch an investigation. Williams instead met with most of the judges in the county and made it clear that such actions would not be tolerated.

Pacheco could have left the court room through only three exits, and he failed to come out through the public one. Instead, he is believed to have fled through the private exit the judge and courtroom staff use to get to their offices. This leads to a staircase that goes to yet another exit on the first floor.

Pacheco’s attorney claims to have no knowledge of how his client left the courtroom but acknowledged his client and Herranz knew there were ICE agents inside the courthouse positioned to arrest Pacheco upon his exit through the public exit.

Many in Portland think Herranz should be removed from the bench and even lose her license to practice law for her actions. Herranz is currently a board member of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association and for the time being, remains a judge in the Multnomah County courts. She will likely face disciplinary action when the investigation is over.

ICE agents captured Pacheco outside the same courthouse after another appearance in court two weeks later. He was taken to an ICE detention facility in New Mexico and is awaiting deportation to Mexico.

With the upheaval under the Trump administration regarding the status of illegal aliens and deportation, the courts continue to challenge the application of related laws. For questions about your civil rights, call us for help. Larry Bellomo is an Orange County attorney practicing in Bankruptcy and Family Law.