A suspended sentence has been handed down to a family judge from Germany after his attempt to challenge a COVID mask mandate at two schools in Weimar.
The case involves a family judge from Weimar, who was convicted by the Erfurt Regional Court for two counts of judicial misconduct, specifically "Rechtsbeugung" (distortion of justice), under Section 339 of the German Criminal Code.
The defendant had issued a ruling in April 2021 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, declaring almost all COVID-19 protective measures inapplicable for students at two schools. He ruled that students should not wear masks, perform rapid tests, or maintain physical distancing, deeming these measures unconstitutional. The ruling generated support from anti-COVID-measure advocates.
However, the court found that the defendant had acted in a biased and partial manner. It was established that he had actively sought out parents who could file cases challenging COVID-19 measures, using his position as a family judge to manipulate the cases’ jurisdiction. He communicated with anti-measure groups, sought favorable medical experts, and intended to influence other court decisions with his rulings. The court concluded that the defendant’s actions violated the principles of impartiality and independence expected of judges.
Although the defendant’s conviction was for a serious offense, the court chose to suspend the two-year prison sentence and place him on probation. The court’s ruling not only has criminal implications but also affects the defendant’s judicial career. If the conviction becomes final, the defendant’s judicial tenure would end, and he would lose pension entitlements.