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Reading from the book of jab | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, September 03, 2021 @ 9:02 AM | By Marcel Strigberger

Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
No custody for you!

A judge in Chicago banned a mother who had shared custody of her 11-year-old son from seeing him until she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Of interest is that the issue in the hearing was support. The judge just asked the parties if they were vaccinated and when mom said no, the judge as Stephen Leacock might have put it, got on his horse, and rode off in every direction.

The mother did ask what the vaccine had to do with the hearing and the judge replied, “I’m the judge. I make the decisions for your case.” This comment is reminiscent of King Louis XIV who when questioned about his authority responded, “l’état, c’est moi.” 

I could not find an answer after I Googled whether or not His Honour wore a long curly wig.

Interestingly the judge hours later reversed himself and restored her custody on the basis that there had been no pleading or hearing on serious endangerment.

It seems that other judges in the U.S. have enticed people to get vaccinated by offering them incentives, such as credits towards community service, lighter probation terms and even reduction of sentences. I don’t know how the latter works but being an avid Monopoly player, I envisage some lout getting sentenced to incarceration and once he gets vaccinated the warden hands him a vaccination certificate reading, “Get out of jail free.”

The incentive that concerns me most is the order some judges have made, of get vaccinated and get bail. I’d hate to see a judge at a bail hearing of a prolific bank robber say, “I’ll grant you bail on conditions that you remain in this jurisdiction, stay away from banks, and get a jab.”

As judges are human, I see potential problems on the flip side, namely with judges who may be anti-vaxxers. It may not be too difficult to spot them. I’d be wary of the judge who says, “Approach the bench but first remove those silly masks.”

I would also have concerns about the judge’s objectivity were he or she to ask me, “Is that a bottle of sanitizer in your pants?”

Anti-vaxxers can be as zealous about their views as pro-vaxxers. You would be wise to research your judge especially in the U.S. The last thing a guy charged with shoplifting would want would be to appear before a zealous anti-vaccine judge and experience consequences which may make the fate suffered by Jean Valjean look like a slap on the wrist:

JUDGE: You have been found guilty of stealing a tube of toothpaste. Normally this would not be considered a heinous offence. However, an aggravating factor was that you underwent the folly of getting vaccinated. Society must be protected from such ghastly rogues. I hereby sentence you to 25 years, to be served at Alcatraz. I know it’s closed but I order it reopened. I’m the judge. And do clean up the place. But don’t use disinfectant.”

There are many things we know about this pandemic and many things still we don’t know.

What we do know is that we can’t all agree on everything. At least this diversity of opinion should keep the lawyers busy. I just wish they and their clients stay safe, and justice prevails, in spite of the vaccination stance of some of the Louis XIVs.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His just launched book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available on Amazon, (e-book) and paper version by pre-release sale order. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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