State Watch

Judge restores unvaccinated mother’s rights to see son

Cook County, Ill., Judge James Shapiro has restored Rebecca Firlit’s rights to see her 11-year-old son after previously revoking the privilege until she got vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Shapiro earlier this month gave custody of Firlit’s son to her vaccinated ex-husband. The couple has been divorced for seven years and were previously sharing custody, according to the the Chicago Sun-Times.

On Monday, however, the judge revoked his previous order that barred Firlit from seeing her son, according to the Sun-Times.

“This court hereby VACATES paragraph 3 of its August 11, 2021 order based on the absence of a pleading or hearing on serious endangerment,” Shapiro’s order reportedly said.

The court document did not reveal any additional information as to why Shapiro decided to reverse his decision.

Firlit told the Sun-Times on Monday that she is “extremely happy” about the reversal.

“I’m extremely happy, I’m going to see my son right now,” she said, adding, “I know that they are going to say that I’m an endangerment to my son. This isn’t over for me.”

Her attorney, Annette Fernholz, previously told Fox 32 Chicago that Shapiro’s initial decision surpassed his authority.

“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,” she said.

Jeffrey Leving, an attorney for Firlit’s ex-husband, said Shapiro’s decision was “unfortunate” and vowed to continue the legal fight.

“I am working on an emergency motion right now to fight it,” he said on Monday, according to the Sun-Times.

Shapiro has reportedly brought up individuals’ vaccination statuses in other child support cases, according to the Sun-Times.

Judges in Ohio recently ordered that individuals get vaccinated as part of their probation, according to The New York Times, and judges in Georgia have lessened sentences for offenders who got inoculated, WSB-TV 2 Atlanta reported.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 Covid-19 vaccination Vaccine hesitancy
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