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Mass. Courts Ask ICE To Stop Deporting Defendants Pending Trial

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (Gregory Bull/AP)
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Massachusetts' court system wants federal immigration officials to stop deporting criminal defendants awaiting trial unless they alert judges and prosecutors.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants and Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey say in a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement dated Wednesday that they've identified at least 13 cases where defendants facing child rape, murder, drug trafficking and other charges have been removed from the country without the court system's knowledge.

An ICE spokesman said the agency would comment later.

A federal judge has ordered ICE to stop making civil arrests at state courthouses while the court considers a lawsuit filed by Boston-area prosecutors.

District Court Judge Shelley Joseph faces federal charges for allegedly helping a Dominican man evade an ICE agent waiting outside her courtroom.

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