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Judge Who Ordered Man to Get Vaccine Takes It Back

Judge: Not my job to 'teach you to be a better person'
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2021 6:38 PM CDT
Judge Who Ordered Man to Get Vaccine Takes It Back
Judy Shavers administers a coronavirus vaccine at the drive-thru clinic in June in Columbus, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

(Newser) – A Cincinnati judge has rescinded his order that a man get vaccinated as part of his probation requirements. It wasn’t the only condition Chris Wagner set for Brandon Rutherford, 21, who was sentenced to two years’ probation for possession of fentanyl. And Rutherford didn’t immediately object, either. But he didn’t do it, and now, a month later, he’s off the hook. Wagner rescinded the order at a hearing Tuesday, per the AP. Wagner told Rutherford it wasn’t his role as a judge to “teach you to be a better person,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. In a motion asking the judge to vacate the order, Carl Lewis, Rutherford's attorney, argued that it "serves no rehabilitative purpose" and "has no relationship to the crime for which he was convicted," reports Fox 19.

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At the hearing, Wagner alluded to the reason why vaccination was initially part of his order. He said he was one of several judges who had contracted COVID, and that he was concerned for the safety of all of the officials—judges, lawyers, probation officers—Rutherford would contact in the next two years. He went on to tell Rutherford that the vaccine is not experimental but in wide use, and pointed him to a program at the local health department that is giving away $100 gift cards with shots, the Enquirer reports. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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