Man Ordered to Have a Vasectomy as Part of Traffic Accident Plea Deal

Two days before Christmas last year, Jesse Lee Herald of Edinburg, Virginia and his 3-year-old son were involved in a vehicle accident. Herald was at the wheel of his 2007 Toyota when it ran off the road and rolled down an embankment. Fortunately, neither Herald nor his son was seriously injured. Instead of waiting for help, Herald grabbed his son and left the scene of the accident – possibly due to the fact that he was driving on a suspended license. He left his son at his home and then ran when state authorities came looking for him. Herald turned himself in a week later.

Herald is no stranger to the law. He has previous convictions that include hit and run driving and possession of illegal drugs, among numerous others.  Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to child endangerment, hit and run driving and driving on a suspended license as a result of leaving the scene of the accident. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison and five years probation, three years of which he will be supervised.

He was also ordered to have a vasectomy.

In addition to the criminal convictions, Herald has been involved in several cases brought up by women who have had a child fathered by him. At 27, Herald is the father of seven (maybe eight) children by (they think) six different women. Upon learning that many children in the commonwealth could be linked to him, the assistant prosecutor offered the condition as part of the plea deal.

“He needs to be able to support the children he already has when he gets out,” said Ilona White, adding that Herald and the state both benefit from the deal.

Even though the deal was signed off by the judge in the Virginia case, it does raise questions of ethics. Besides the fact that the vasectomy requirement has nothing to do with the offenses for which he was charged, it does raise the issue of whether judges have the right to make such invasive decisions, especially when it comes to an individual’s reproductive rights. For some it harkens back to the days of forced sterilization, which overwhelmingly affected the poor, minorities and the  mentally ill. The prosecuting attorney, however, vehemently denies any sinister motive against Herald, who is white.

“It was primarily due to the fact he had seven or eight children, all by different women, and we felt it might be in the commonwealth’s interest for that to be part of the plea agreement,” White responded.

Judges ordering men to have vasectomies is rare, though not new. Justices across the country have ordered men, usually extremely delinquent on child support, to have the procedure as a way to curb the strain on the public support system.  In May, an Ohio appeals court upheld a judge’s order for a man to have a vasectomy after he was $100,000 behind on child support for his four children.  The defendant’s attorney challenged the ruling saying it violated his client’s privacy rights. The appeals court upheld the sentencing – but did not rule on the legal merits of the sentence.

The defense attorney plans to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Everyone involved in Jesse Lee Herald’s case agrees that the plea agreement is unusual, which calls for him to undergo the procedure within a year and to not reverse it while he is on probation. Herald’s attorney said his client agreed to the deal, albeit reluctantly. He admitted he has never been involved in any kind of deal like this before.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for the article.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for the article.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Jane R., I am just going to assume that you failed to properly read my comment since I am totally mystified how you could interpet my arguing in favor of women having control of their reproductive choices as "blaming women."

Jane R.
Jane R.2 years ago

@ Kevin B. , You see, women, in our modern world, have the ability to control their reproductive health, but in order to do this, they need access to medically produced and prescribed birth control medications.
SO you don't think men have the ability to control their reproductive health? Have men ever heard of condoms? It works both ways, so stop putting all the blame on the women!! It takes two to tango. It takes two to make a baby. Both people are responsible for making a baby, not just the woman.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe2 years ago

Oh my lands - I have never heard of a judge doing this before!!

donald Baumgartner

I beleive that going TOO far!!!!!

Mina X.
Mina X.2 years ago

This is sick. Who are these "women" jumping into bed with this guy without protection? And while "America" might not have universal health care, condoms can be bought at any corner store. More illegitimacy for the world, yay... It takes two to tango and two to be responsible...

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H.2 years ago

Also Nikolas why is the guy jumping in bed with women he doesn't know? If the issue is men are worried about making babies, where is his supply of condoms? Just food for thought. This highway goes both ways.

Beverly C.
Beverly C.2 years ago

I agree with having him get a vasectomy, in that he intentionally put his son in danger.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Nikolas K., still posting the ignorant misogynistic comments, I see.

You are proving that you have absolutely no understanding of the subject. You somehow think it's about giving free money to "sluts" or some other demented, illogical and of course chauvinistic nonsense.

You see, you misogynistic bigot, women have sex, most women like sex (you know, like we men do). But here is the thing, women get pregnant from sex, which is a HEALTH ISSUE.

You see, women, in our modern world, have the ability to control their reproductive health, but in order to do this, they need access to medically produced and prescribed birth control medications.

Because the U.S. is a third world nation without universal health coverage (you know, like the rest of the world has) many people (including women) have to get their health insurance coverage through their employers as part of the salary that they EARN for their hard WORK.

For women, this includes such things as birth control.

I hope this has enlightened you so you can avoid making incredibly stupid, misogynistic, and idiotic statements in the future.