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Review Clears Judge Who Helped Immigrant Avoid Federal Officers

<p>The Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland. ICE confirmed to OPB multiple arrests happened near county courthouses in January.</p>

Bradley W. Parks

The Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland. ICE confirmed to OPB multiple arrests happened near county courthouses in January.

A review has found a Multnomah County judge didn’t know she was helping a man in her courtroom escape arrest from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

“Judge (Monica) Herranz did not take any action that she understood would result in an undocumented immigrant evading detention by ICE agents," said Barbara Marcille, the county’s trial court administrator who conducted the review.

On Jan. 27, Herranz allowed Diddier Pacheco-Salazar to leave her courtroom through an alternate exit. ICE agents were in the hallway outside the main entrance of the courtroom to arrest Pacheco-Salazar.

Marcille said Herranz didn’t know Pacheco-Salazar's immigration status and also didn’t know why ICE was in the courthouse hallway.

"Judge Herranz understood that the parties, both defense and prosecution, had agreed on the request to allow the defendant to avoid contact with ICE agents, and granted that request," Marcille wrote in her review.

Marcille conducted at least nine interviews as part of her investigation into the incident, and also listened to a recording of court proceedings.

On Jan. 29, U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams alerted Multnomah County courthouse staff about efforts to evade ICE officers. Court officials provided Williams with a copy of Marcille's review, but a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

Multnomah County Presiding Judge Nan Waller said she accepts the findings.

"I was satisfied with the level of review," she said, "so there's no action for us to take."

In April, the head of the Oregon Republican Party filed a complaint with the Judicial Fitness Commission naming Herranz. The commission, which is notoriously tight-lipped, didn’t return a request for comment.

Since January, after President Trump took office, officials have reported an increase in ICE activity inside and around the Multnomah County courthouses.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.