Judge revokes mother's custody of son until she is vaccinated

A judge in Illinois has revoked a mother’s custody of her son due to her status of being unvaccinated, The Washington Post reported.

During a virtual court hearing earlier this month, Cook County Judge James Shapiro asked Rebecca Firlit if she had received a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Firlit said she had not due to having adverse reactions to vaccines in the past. Shapiro then ruled that Firlit could not see her 11-year-old son until she received the inoculation, according to the Post. 

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Shapiro awarded custody of Firlit’s son to her ex-husband, who is fully vaccinated, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In an interview with the Chicago newspaper, Firlit said she felt the judge was annoyed with the duration of the hearing and attorneys on both sides were planning to ask for a continuance. 

“One of the first things he asked me when I got on the Zoom call was whether or not I was vaccinated, which threw me off because I asked him what it had to do with the hearing,” she said.

“I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support. I asked him what it had to do with the hearing, and he said, ‘I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.’ ”

Shapiro's decision comes as other judges across the nation have made similar decisions based on vaccination status. 

Recently, two Ohio judges have ordered some defendants to receive vaccines as a part of their probation, and two Georgia judges have reduced some sentences for those who get vaccinated, the Post reported. 

Firlit's attorney, Annette Fernholz, told Fox affiliate WFLD that she believed Shapiro overstepped his authority with the ruling.

"In this case, you have a judge, without any matter before him regarding the parenting time with the child deciding ‘Oh, you’re not vaccinated. You don't get to see your child until you are vaccinated.' That kind of exceeds his jurisdiction," Fernholz told WFLD.