Judge Christopher Wagner ordered Brandon Rutherford to be vaccinated within 60 days of his court date or face prison.
An Ohio man was ordered to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of his probation.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Wagner ordered Brandon Rutherford to be vaccinated within 60 days of his Aug. 4 court appearance or face jail time.
The 21-year-old has said he is not taking the vaccine.
“I don’t plan on getting it. I don’t want it,” Rutherford said to WCPO 9. “So, for him to tell me that I have to get it in order for me to not violate my probation is crazy because 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.”
Rutherford was sentenced to two years probation for possession of fentanyl.
“This defendant was in possession of fentanyl, which is deadlier than the vaccine and COVID 19,” Judge Wagner told CNN in a statement. “The defendant expressed no objection during the proceedings and stated no medical concerns, and his attorney did not object.”
He noted that it is not uncommon for judges to order health treatments. However, this case is controversial as the COVID-19 vaccines are relatively new, and its opponents are very vocal. Mandates surrounding it have been a heated topic of debate.
Attorney Carl Lewis told CNN that he and Rutherford, his client, plan to wait out the 60 days and see if Judge Wagner takes any action before filing a motion in opposition to the order. He noted to WCPO that he was surprised by the judge’s order.
“When you hear that, you’re like, ‘Whoa, I don’t think the judges are within their powers to do that,’” Lewis said. “If he truly believes that he’s within authority to order the individual to get a vaccine, then we’ll have a legal issue to address.”
“It’s not like I’m out here getting into any more trouble or anything like that,” Rutherford added, “but because I don’t take a shot, they can send me to jail. I don’t agree with that.”
Judge Wagner has issued a statement about his ruling.
“This defendant was in possession of fentanyl, which is deadlier than the vaccine and COVID-19,” the statement reads. “The defendant expressed no objection during the proceedings and stated no medical concerns and his attorney did not object. We will have to see what happens now that the defendant is expressing opposition.”