Judge orders COVID vaccine as condition of man’s probation

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Judge orders COVID vaccine as condition of man's probation

An Ohio judge has ordered a man to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — or face jail time.

Judge Christopher Wagner told Brandon Rutherford, 21, at a sentencing hearing in a Hamilton County court Wednesday that he must get vaccinated within 60 days as a condition of his probation for possession of fentanyl, news station WCPO reported.

“I’m just a judge, not a doctor, but I think the vaccine’s a lot safer than fentanyl, which is what you had in your pocket,” Wagner said at the hearing.

“You’re going to maintain employment. You’re not going to be around a firearm. I’m going to order you, within the next two months, to get a vaccine and show that to the probation office.”

Wagner told Rutherford that he could be sent to state prison for up to 18 months if the conditions of his probation are violated, the outlet reported.

Judge Christopher A. Wagner
Judge Christopher Wagner told Brandon Rutherford the vaccine is “a lot safer than fentanyl.”
Hamilton County Courts

Rutherford had revealed his vaccination status at the beginning of the hearing when the judge questioned him about why he was wearing his mask in court.

He later slammed the judge’s orders that he get the vaccine, saying the move was unfair.

“Because I don’t take a shot they can send me to jail? I don’t agree with that,” Rutherford told the outlet. “I’m just trying to do what I can to get off this as quickly as possible, like finding a job and everything else. But that little thing (COVID vaccine) can set me back.”

Rutherford said he doesn’t plan to follow the judge’s orders.

“I’m not taking the vaccine,” Rutherford told CNN.

The judge said in a statement that it’s his responsibility in the court to “rehabilitate the defendant and protect the community,” news station WCPO reported.

Brandon Rutherford
Despite it being a condition of his probation, Brandon Rutherford said he is “not taking the vaccine.”
WCPO

“Judges make decisions regularly regarding a defendant’s physical and mental health, such as ordering drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment,” Wagner said.

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