Ohio Judge Tells Defendants To Get Vaxxed Or Go To Jail Show Court Docs

Yup, you read that right, a judge in Ohio is sentencing people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations or face jail time.

“I just wanted them to be safe in the community,” said Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye.

“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.”

So far, Frye has added the vaccine as a condition of probation 3 times in about 20 sentences.

Court records show that Cameron Stringer, who entered a guilty plea for one charge of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle was sentenced to two years of probation.

Along with random drug screening, returning a firearm to its rightful owner, and staying out of further legal trouble, Stringer has 30 days to provide proof of vaccination to the Probation Department. Documents also show that should Stringer not fulfill a condition of his court ordered probation he could be violated and sent back to jail to serve “a twenty four month” sentence at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Frye is also holding jail time over the defendants heads.

“I know Judge Frye’s reputation,” said Sylvaun Latham who was being sentenced for a gun and drug charge before Frye. “I know he’s known for giving the max time. I don’t want to go to jail. I also don’t want to have five years probation.”

“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?’”

Latham’s attorney had already struck a deal with prosecutors before sentencing which was three years probation but things changed during the sentencing hearing.

Judge Frye told Latham he could choose between five years probation or just one year probation if he receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Latham has not received the vaccine and is planning on contacting the ACLU.

Local ACLU lobbyist, Gary Daniels said the practice concerns him.

“It doesn’t have any real relationship to community control,” Daniels said of Frye’s practice, in a brief interview.

“At a minimum, it appears to be problematic.”

However, the ACLU has only given the matter lip service and as of the writing of this post has done nothing official to address the judge’s sentencing practice.

“That’s not like picking up trash,” said Latham. “I know I’m in your courtroom and you have the absolute say-so over things but I feel like, that’s my health.”

ABC 6 | The Columbus Dispatch