- Associated Press - Thursday, April 13, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The chairman of the Oregon Republican Party said Thursday he filed an ethics complaint against a judicial officer who reportedly helped a defendant avoid federal immigration agents at a Portland courthouse the week after Donald Trump became president.

Bill Currier said he wants the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness to determine whether Multnomah County court referee Monica Herranz committed an ethical breach by letting a man who pleaded guilty to drunken driving leave through her chambers instead of through the courtroom doors, where immigration agents were stationed.

Attempts to reach Herranz by phone Thursday were unsuccessful. In her position as court referee, she handles lower-level criminal cases, easing the workload on judges.

Currier based his complaint on news reports of the Jan. 27 episode and an audio recording of the plea hearing in which a 22-year-old man who was born in Mexico pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

“We don’t want him to go back out there,” Herranz reportedly said before allowing the defendant to exit from her courtroom chamber.

Immigration agents ended up arresting the man two weeks later after a follow-up court hearing.

“This looks like another example of the rampant lawlessness we’ve come to expect from sanctuary cities,” Currier said. “But this is a bridge too far for a member of our judicial system to appear to aid and abet criminal illegal aliens and to openly attempt to subvert or obstruct federal law enforcement.”

Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Justice decided in February not to pursue a bar complaint or criminal investigation against Herranz.

The Willamette Week reported in February that they instead had a lunch meeting with Multnomah County judges in which they stressed that court officials can’t interfere with federal law enforcement. The judges, meanwhile, reminded them of an Oregon law that prohibits public employees from helping immigration officials locate or apprehend undocumented immigrants.

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