Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye of Ohio’s Franklin County has been including mandatory coronavirus vaccines in the terms of defendants’ respective probations, attaching the stipulation to three of his recent cases.
“It occurred to me that at least some of these folks need to be encouraged not to procrastinate,” Frye said, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which said the judge openly discussed vaccination statuses with the defendants.
According to reports, none of the defendants cited religious, moral, or medical reasons for not yet getting the vaccine.
“I think it’s a reasonable condition when we’re telling people to get employed and be out in the community,” Frye added.
One of the defendants who received the condition, Cameron Stringer, “entered a guilty plea for one charge of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, for which he was sentenced to two years of probation,” per the Dispatch. A coronavirus shot is one of several conditions of his probation, court documents show.
- Defendant shall attend and complete cognitive behavioral programming as determined by the Adult Probation Department.
- Defendant shall complete any behavioral health assessments as determined by the Adult Probation Department and comply with any recommended treatment.
- Defendant shall submit to random urine screens as directed by the Adult Probation Department. Defendant to undergo drug treatment if he tests positive for drugs including marijuana which has been persistent while on pretrial supervision.
- Defendant shall obtain/maintain verifiable employment and/or successfully complete an employment program. To assist with his ability to gain employment, Defendant must get the COVID 19 vaccine within 30 days and provide proof to Probation Department.
- Defendant shall have no new arrests or convictions.
- Firearm to be returned to rightful owner.
The Dispatch suggests Frye is in uncharted territory, as it remains unclear just how “widespread this judicial practice is”:
Frye said he didn’t know if any other judges were doing anything similar. A spokesman for the Supreme Court, which oversees lower courts, said he didn’t know of any judges doing anything similar. However, he sent a link to a media report about a judge offering to shorten probation stretches for those who obtain a vaccine.
The judge’s incorporation of vaccine mandates as a condition of probation comes as the Biden administration continues in its efforts to get 70 percent of the eligible U.S. population vaccinated, although the White House has admitted it will fall short of reaching that goal by July 4.
The Biden White House placed the bulk of the blame on younger Americans, namely those 18-26, for refusing to get the vaccine. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging parents to get their children vaccinated amid rising concerns of rare heart inflammation conditions developing primarily in young males after receiving the mRNA vaccinations.
The case is Ohio v. Cameron M. Stringer, No. 19CR 2268 in the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Ohio Criminal Division.