A Franklin County judge confirmed that he’s mandating COVID-19 vaccinations as conditions of probation in his courtroom.
Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye said last week he added the vaccine as a condition on three cases in the week of the roughly 20 sentences he imposed.
He said he discussed the matter in open court with the defendants, and they attributed their unvaccinated status to procrastination. None raised any philosophical, medical or religious objection.
“It occurred to me that at least some of these folks need to be encouraged not to procrastinate,” Frye said in an interview. “I think it’s a reasonable condition when we’re telling people to get employed and be out in the community.”
He declined to “speculate” what would happen if a defendant raised a medical, religious or philosophical exemption to vaccination, but said this is a different situation entirely than people who have simply put the matter off.
Now, some offenders affected are speaking out to say it’s not right.
“The whole atmosphere of the courtroom changed,” said criminal offender Sylvaun Latham who was sentenced for a gun and drug charge last week before Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye. “Everyone had this look on their face. I broke character and asked (my attorney), ‘Can he do this?’”
Out of 20 sentencings Judge Frye conducted last week, three included requirements to get the vaccination within 30 days and provide proof to the probation department.
“He said something about a new delta strain out attacking, like, black people,” Latham told the reporter.
Ohio Judge Mandates the experimental covid vaccine as a Term of Probation, wtf is going on?! pic.twitter.com/O5Guu2CjYG
— Tony (@mrtdogg_1) July 3, 2021