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Judge Orders Man to Get COVID Vaccine or Face Up to 18 Months in Prison

Ashley Jarrett

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An Ohio judge has ordered a man to get a COVID vaccine or face up to 18 months in prison. Judge Christopher Wagner issued the order to Brandon Rutherford, 21, at a sentencing hearing in a Hamilton County court on Wednesday. Wagner said that he must get vaccinated within 60 days as a condition of his probation for possession of fentanyl.

“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 also said that he was wearing a mask in court because of Hamilton.

“According to the transcript, Wagner threatened to send Rutherford to state prison for up to 18 months if he violated conditions of Community Control, which is commonly referred to as probation,” WCPO reported.

The COVID vaccine has not been FDA approved, and is still under Emergency Use Authorization. The CDC recently admitted that the vaccine does not prevent the transmission of the virus. Wagner is not in an at-risk age group: More than 99.98% of all COVID-related fatalities are over the age of 21.

Brandon Rutherford did not agree with the judge’s order to get vaccinated. In an interview on Thursday with WCPO, Rutherford said it was ‘unfair to force him to get a shot that he doesn’t want or believe he needs.’

“Because I don’t take a shot they can send me to jail? I don’t agree with that,” Rutherford said. “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.”

Carl Lewis, who is Rutherford’s attorney, said he was “taken aback” by the judge’s order.

“When you hear that, you’re like ‘whoa,’” Lewis said Thursday. “I don’t think the judges are within their powers to do that.”

In modern-day America, it’s hard to say anymore.

Syndicated with licensed permission from Becker News. Follow Kyle Becker and Becker News on Twitter.



Formerly an online tech and science reporter at The Sun Online, Ashley stepped up to the mantle of technology reporter at the Daily Telegraph late last year. She writes about everything from drones, web security and cryptocurrency to social media apps, like Facebook and Spotify, and technology brands including Apple and Toshiba.

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