Martin Gottesfeld was featured by Michelle Malkin for defending Justina Pelletier when she was maimed at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, leading to his imprisonment without bail by a Harvard-affiliated judge and Obama-appointed prosecutors at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF). See for more info and social media links.

When President Trump announced his first immigration actions, liberal cities and towns immediately started resisting. Some passed ordinances declaring themselves sanctuaries for immigrants while their state legislators and courts went to work on supporting statutes and case law. As one of the bluest members of the union, Massachusetts is in the process of declaring itself a “sanctuary state,” and as one of the only two county sheriffs therein to agree to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, Joseph McDonald Jr. has received praise from a variety of conservative outlets.

Joseph McDonald Jr., the Sheriff of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, has been cozying up to the Trump administration via its immigration policies, but the president should be careful about embracing him. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association.



While superficially Sheriff McDonald’s motives seem ideological, further inspection reveals more sinister intentions seemingly at play and McDonald’s checkered past makes him a liability for would-be political allies, especially an administration under scrutiny from liberal media outlets with their fangs out as well as human rights and immigrants’ groups looking for egregious abuses on which to hang their hats. McDonald could also find himself under fire for his mistreatment of U.S. combat veterans, a group important to Trump, who endure the same tortures as the federal immigration detainees in McDonald’s custody at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF).

For example, a marine I’ll call “N,” who’s currently being held on a bogus Massachusetts gun charge at PCCF, has claustrophobia and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from when his Humvee was flipped by an IED and his team was pinned inside by enemy gunfire. Despite being told of N’s diagnosis, as well as previous articles about PCCF’s prior mistreatment of veterans at The Huffington Post and ShadowProof, management tried to move him from an open dormitory unit to a small cell – twice.

The first time, N said he could not enter the small cell. PCCF management retaliated by placing him on suicide watch and forcing him into the jail’s Q5 unit. There, N says he spent the night unable to sleep, nearly naked in a tiny approximately 40-degree Fahrenheit cell without a mattress or blanket.

Dozens of others tell similar stories of Q5, where they say skin turns purple and sticks to the cold floor like the cliché tongue on a frozen flagpole. One reported dead flies on the floor and another described seeing a previous occupants’ pubic hair strewn about. The first thing many want to tell the public is that one of the cells in Q5 has no toilet — instead they describe having to defecate in a hole in the ground.

After being cleared off suicide watch by mental health staff the next morning and returning to the open dorm, N said his night in Q5 was the worst experience of his life – worse than being pinned down inside the Humvee. He marveled at the probable media backlash if U.S. troops put enemy POWs through such treatment.

Two days later they tell N they’re moving him to a cell again. A guard who happens to be a fellow combat vet makes calls on N’s behalf, to no avail. Given the choice between a small cell in Q5 and an equally small but warmer one elsewhere, N goes along and endures the insomnia and nightmares when he eventually passes out from exhaustion. Adding insult to injury, before the second move they lie, telling him he’s headed for a newly established veterans’ wing, but he soon discovers there’s no such thing.

As for McDonald’s seemingly brave choice to back Trump’s immigration policies from inside deep blue Massachusetts, PCCF stands to gross over $100/day for each additional immigrant ICE now plans to detain there in an apparent quid pro quo. However, here too the specters of the past and future loom large.

First, it’s not hard to imagine an international backlash welling up when ICE detainees abused by PCCF are deported to their home countries and start talking about their experiences. Q5 could constitute torture under U.N. treaties and PCCF has already been featured in a report to the U.N. committee in charge of investigating torture worldwide.

Also, back in February 2015, while ICE was already contracting with PCCF to hold some immigrants, Channel 5 News in Boston aired a story about a PCCF supervisor accused by another jail employee of offering coworkers thousands in cash to marry Vietnamese women in need of U.S. citizenship.

The local news crew found 3 matching marriages and divorces recorded between PCCF guards and Vietnamese immigrants and even found one of the women working at the alleged mastermind’s nail salon located down the street from PCCF.

There’s newer ground for intrepid Massachusetts reporters to break at PCCF as well. Many current staff say McDonald employs a pay-to-play system and that it’s well understood that obtaining coveted promotions requires candidates to donate to the Sheriff’s reelection campaign. Indeed, local papers make note of the large amount of campaign contributions McDonald receives from his subordinates, and many of the longest-tenured employees at PCCF say that’s not just a result of employees’ heartfelt support for McDonald.

Finally, while there are numerous other issues at PCCF which should give the Trump administration pause, no list should go without the elephant in the room — despite this long history, Obama’s U.S. Attorney in Boston oddly left McDonald alone for nearly 8 years despite being aware of the 2015 allegations. In contrast, George W. Bush’s appointee prosecuted a police sergeant from a town police department in Plymouth County for similar marriage fraud involving German women.

He told the local news crew investigating the allegations of marriage fraud at PCCF, “As a prosecutor I have kind of a heightened interest with regards to any type of law enforcement participating in any type of fraud, including marriage fraud.”


Sheriff James DiPaola committed suicide on November 26, 2010 while facing breach of ethics allegations from state authorities and the press.. Photo via



In further contrast, Obama’s federal prosecutors did go after a nearby Democratic former Middlesex County, Massachusetts sheriff James Dipaola.  Sheriff DiPaola shot himself in the head as the State Ethics Commission was closing in on him over allegations funds for his re-election were illegally being raised by his employees.

So, why the difference? The public should know, and so should the Trump administration before it jumps into bed with Mr. McDonald.