How's this for judicial overreach?
An Ohio attorney is speaking out after a judge ordered one of his clients to get vaccinated as a condition of his release.
21-year-old Brandon Rutherford was given a suspended sentence last week for possession of the deadly drug fentanyl by Hamilton County Judge Christopher Wagner. But in addition to the typical requirements - that Rutherford stay clean, and get a job, stay away from guns, - the judge also gave him 60 days to get vaccinated, or be sent to prison to serve out a term as lengthy as 18 months.
Rutherford's lawyer decided to take the case to the press, speaking to multiple media outlets on Monday about the unfairness of the judge's order regarding his client. The lawyer says he intends to challenge the order, but that he wants to wait and see if Judge Wagner "violates" his client once the deadline is up.
In America we are threatening prison time unless you undergo a medical procedure.— Mommar (@MisterCommodity) August 9, 2021
You guys awake yet?
Ohio judge orders man to get COVID-19 vaccine as condition of probation https://t.co/fMqIvWrbKR via @nypost
According to a transcript of the hearing, Wagner had asked Rutherford why he was wearing a mask inside the courtroom, only to learn that the defendant had not been vaccinated. It was at this point that the judge decided to require the jab as a condition of the probation.
"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 told Rutherford. “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. Okay?"
Rutherford was not on board. He told the press that it's "unfair" of the judge to force him to get a vaccine 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 told WCPO last Thursday. "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 can set me back," he added.
Meanwhile, judges across the US have ruled in favor of letting private businesses and even public universities impose vaccine mandates on their employees and students. On Monday, the Department of Defense announced it would mandate vaccines to members of the US military by mid-September, or sooner, if the jabs - currently approved only for emergency use - receive full FDA approval.