Judges in this state are requiring probationers to get vaccinated

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At least two judges in Ohio have required defendants to get vaccinated as a condition of probation.

And they may not be the only judges with the idea, said Michael Benza, a senior instructor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Benza told the New York Times that he thinks judges in other states are imposing the same requirement.

The two Ohio judges who required vaccines are Judge Christopher Wagner of Hamilton County, Ohio, and Judge Richard Frye of Franklin County, Ohio, according to the New York Times and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Other judges, including two judges in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, are giving defendants the chance to reduce their probation terms by getting vaccinated.

In Hall County, Georgia, meanwhile, judges have offered reduced sentences to several defendants if they get vaccinated, according to a WSB-TV story cited by the New York Times.

Frye told the New York Times that he had ordered vaccines three times, and no defendant had objected. The New York Times story was published Aug. 9.

Frye said Ohio judges are allowed to impose reasonable conditions of probation that protect the community, and vaccines would protect probationers, as well as community members.

Wagner told the New York Times and the Cincinnati Enquirer in emails that judges regularly make decisions about a defendant’s health when they order drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.

Wagner said he imposed the vaccine requirement on a defendant who had possessed fentanyl, “which is deadlier than the vaccine and COVID-19.”

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