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Boston Fed Judge Criticizes Prosecutors for Charging Homeland Official

boston-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Boston federal judge on Friday sharply criticized the U.S. Attorney’s office for bringing charges against a Homeland Security official, saying prosecutors overreached and crushed her for what he saw as a minor offense, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock postponed sentencing while he considers a defense motion to vacate the verdict of Lorraine Henderson, Boston’s port director for Customs and Border Protection, the Globe reported. She was convicted in March of deliberately encouraging her Brazilian housekeeper to remain in the U.S. illegally, the Globe reported.

The judge said said Henderson, who is on suspension, was the first person he is aware of who has been charged with a felony for this type of violation, the Globe reported. He thought the charge was excessive.

“This is a cleaning lady,” he said in court, according to the Globe. “There must be some sense of proportion.”

The judge also noted that he was troubled that Henderson was arrested and kept in a holding cell for several hours instead of being ordered to make a court appearance.

Boston’s U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz was in the courtroom for the part of the hearing, the Globe reported, but she declined comment.

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