Diddier Pacheco Salazar, 22, was at a DUI hearing on January 27th at Judge Monica Heeranz’s court when the judge was notified that ICE agents were waiting outside to take Salazar into custody. The exact details of what happened next are not clear, but Judge Heeranz is being accused of ushering Salazar to escape through her judge’s chambers in order to elude ICE.
Salazar’s court-appointed attorney, John Schlosser, says that they wer aware that ICE agents were waiting for Salazar. “I prepped my client. I said, ‘I don’t know if they’re going to pick you up outside or what, but here’s how to prepare,'” Schlosser tells Willamette Week. “After the court appearance, I went out in the hallway and sat. My client never came out. I can’t say that I’m surprised he didn’t come out, but I gave him his options, and assume he had to have been escorted out some other way.”
Sources told WW that Salazar exited through an employee only exit, through the chambers of Judge Monica Heeranz, which is on the board of directors for the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association.
U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, said, “I was troubled because, on the face of it, what I heard sounded like potential federal criminal law violations and/or ethical violations. Generally, we’re talking about obstruction of justice.”
“When you’re talking about the judicial system – whether it’s federal or by state – you have an expectation that people are going to abide by the law and not take steps based on their own motivations, their own politics – whatever the motivation was,” Williams told Fox12.
Rather than pursue criminal charges Williams, ICE, and Chief Judge Nan Waller met to discuss the incident. Waller has started an internal investigation into what happened.
ICE picked up Salazar two weeks later and he’s currently in custody at the federal detention center in Tacoma, WA.