CINCINNATI — A Common Pleas judge in Cincinnati has rescinded his order that a man sentenced for a felony drug charge get vaccinated against COVID-19 within two months as a condition of his probation.
Speaking at a hearing Tuesday, Judge Christopher Wagner told Brandon Rutherford that it’s not a judge’s role to make decisions for him or “teach you to be a better person,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
The reversal came nearly a month after Wagner had sentenced Rutherford. At the time, Wagner told Rutherford he presumed he hadn’t been vaccinated because he was wearing a mask in court, which Rutherford confirmed, telling the judge he wasn’t worried about the vaccine.
Neither Rutherford nor his attorney, Carl Lewis, objected to the vaccination order during the sentencing, but soon afterward Rutherford expressed concerns about the directive.
"I don't plan on getting it. I don't want it,” Rutherford said. “So, for him to tell me that I have to get it in order for me to not violate my probation, it's crazy because I'm just trying to do what I can to get off this as quickly as possible, finding a job and everything else. But that little thing can set me back."
Lewis said Tuesday that his 21-year-old client has concerns about the vaccine and will not get it within two months.
Lewis had argued that a judge doesn’t have the power or authority to order someone to be vaccinated.