A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons
by Samantha Michaels
Posted September 11, 2017
It was almost lunchtime inside the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, on May 12, 2008, when 400 meatpackers, mostly migrants from Guatemala and Mexico,
were arrested in the bust, which cost $5 million and was then the biggest workplace immigration raid in US history.
Overseeing the process was Judge Linda R. Reade, the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa. She defended the decision to turn a fairground into a courthouse, saying the proceedings were fair and unhurried. The incident sparked allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct and led to congressional hearings. Erik Camayd-Freixas, an interpreter who had worked at the Waterloo proceedings, testified that most of the Spanish-speaking defendants had been pressured to plead guilty. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said the unconventional process seemed “like a cattle auction, not a criminal prosecution in the United States of America.”
Yet amid the national attention, one fact didn’t make the news: Before and after the raid, Reade’s husband owned stock in two private prison companies, and he bought additional prison stock five days before the raid, according to Reade’s financial disclosure forms. Ethics experts say these investments were inappropriate and may have violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. More…