Illinois judge who banned mom from seeing son over vaccination status reverses ruling, recuses himself

An Illinois judge has officially recused himself from a child support case where he originally banned an unvaccinated mother from visiting her son and then reversed his ruling Monday after it received massive media attention.

“Although I believe I can be fair and impartial, the Canons of Judicial Ethics speak to the perception of fairness and impartiality as well as fairness and impartiality itself,” Cook County Judge James Shapiro remarked in a statement, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Public perception may be that I can’t be fair and impartial. Therefore, I am going to recuse myself from further proceedings in this case,” he stated.

The mother in question, Rebecca Firlit, had previously told Shapiro in August that she did not receive the COVID jab because of adverse reactions to vaccinations. She contended she was following her doctor’s orders.

(Video Credit: WGN News)

Following that disclosure, Shapiro ordered that the mother be stripped of all parenting time with her son until she got vaccinated. But after the ruling got media attention, he reversed his decision.

“I think there’s been a lot of media outcry,” Firlit’s attorney, Annette Fernholz, noted. “The divorce bar here in Illinois has been responding when they saw it on the news.”

The couple has been divorced for several years and shares custody of their son.

“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10th,” Firlit said.

“I think that it’s wrong. I think that it’s dividing families. And I think it’s not in my son’s best interest to be away from his mother,” Firlit commented after Shapiro’s initial ruling.

“It had nothing to do with what we were talking about. He was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me,” she angrily posited.

“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,” Firlit’s attorney Annette Fernholz said.

“You have to understand the father did not even bring this issue before the court. So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated,” she added.

In the interim, Firlit’s ex-husband Matthew Duiven is planning on filing an emergency motion to prevent her from seeing their son citing her being unvaccinated and her volatility in court.

“It definitely was not a reason to take my child away from me,” Firlit asserted. “I’m not an endangerment to him. Nothing was filed about that. Nothing that we were in the hearing for had anything to do with it.”

Firlit will reportedly be able to see her son for the first time in almost a month on Wednesday, according to Fox32.

This is not a first for Judge Shapiro. He has allegedly ordered parents and eligible children to be vaccinated in at least two other child support hearings, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Firlit “was surprised” by the judge’s reversal, “but my reaction is I’m grateful.”

Not only did the judge get slammed by the media, people on social media throttled him as well:


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