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Chief Judge Hershey

Judge Hershey
Real name
Barbara Hershey
Current alias
Chief Judge Hershey
Aliases
Judge Hershey
Affiliation
Relatives
Hilary (sister, deceased); Anton (nephew); Unnamed second sister, daughter and grandchildren
Universe
Base of operations

Characteristics
Gender
Eyes
Hair
Status
Citizenship
Marital status
Occupation
Chief Judge
Education
Academy of Law
Origin
Origin
Born 2084 AD
Place of birth
First appearance

History[]

Judge Hershey mostly appears in Judge Dredd, but also had her own strip, Judge Hershey, in the Judge Dredd Megazine from 1992 to 1996.

Hershey joined the Academy of Law when she was five (and, incidentally, has had the same hairstyle ever since, meaning that her appearance has changed even less over the years than that of Judge Dredd himself). When she was seven she and her classmates met Chief Judge Goodman. Hershey was impressed both by his willingness to answer questions from a room full of children and by the Chief Judge's regalia he wore.

As a fourteen-year-old cadet, Hershey was informed that she had been selected to be fast-tracked for the strategies division of Justice Department. She declined the offer. Warned a year later that her marksmanship skills were not good enough for her to be a street Judge, she practised until, in her final assessment, she came within three points of beating Rico Dredd's all-time record.

Hershey had barely graduated from the Academy of Law when she was chosen to join Judge Dredd and the crew of Justice 1 on The Judge Child Quest, a mission to track down the psychic boy known as the Judge Child who was believed to hold the fate of Mega-City One in his hands. Hershey aquitted herself well on the mission and returned to Mega-City One as a street Judge, later working with Dredd again during The Apocalypse War. She survived Fink Angel's attempt on her life as revenge for the deaths of his family, the Angel Gang, during the Judge Child incident, and was also prominent in the fight against millions of zombies during the city's so-called Judgement Day. Her sister Hilary was killed by zombies during Judgement Day, leaving her nephew Anton an orphan; the following year, when Anton was kidnapped, Hershey rescued him.

Hershey eventually rose to become the youngest ever member of Mega-City One's ruling Council of Five. She succeeded Judge Hadrian Volt as Acting Chief Judge in 2121 AD after he committed suicide (which was kept secret from the general population). Hershey was elected Chief Judge outright in 2122 AD. Under her leadership, thanks to Dredd's persuasion, it was made legal for mutants to live in Mega-City One. This angered Justice Department's more conservative Judges, who held a vote in 2131 AD that replaced her with Chief Judge Dan Francisco (thanks partly to the machinations of Judge Sinfield, who staged a 'mutant' attack on the popular Francisco to swing the vote in his favour). Hershey might have won the election if she had opened vote to all the Judges, not just the Senior Judges, but she decided not to. This was partly because it would have looked unfair, and partly because she was ambivalent about continuing as Chief Judge when it was a frustrating and thankless job that took her away from her beloved streets. After leaving office she was told to choose a post on a colony world so that she would not be a distraction from Francisco's leadership, and acquiesced.

Francisco, still recovering from the near-fatal attack on him, was drugged into resigning his position and appointing Sinfield as Chief Judge. Sinfield's corruption was later uncovered and Franciso reinstated. After Chaos Day, for which he felt personally responsible, Francisco resigned and Hershey became Chief Judge again in 2134 AD — this time ruling a gravely damaged city struggling to cope with a severely depleted population and limited resources.

In the three-way crossover story Trifecta Hershey was angered to discover that (a) Dredd hadn't trusted her enough to tell her about a secret plot to overthrow the entire city in the wake of Chaos Day and (b) the Machiavellian Judge Smiley had been living a hidden existence under her nose and manipulating events from behind the scenes for decades. Dredd redeemed himself somewhat in Hershey's eyes when he helped her reverse a coup staged by Texas City and its Chief Judge Pamelina Oswin in 2138 AD. In the wake of the failed coup attempt, with Oswin dead, Hershey altered the records of Psi-Judge Lewis so that nobody would know that she was psychic, and installed her as Texas City's new Chief Judge.

After discovering that she was terminally ill (having contracted a disease while off-planet), Hershey eventually stepped down from her role as Chief Judge in 2141 and was replaced by Judge Logan. She became progressively weaker and was finally (apparently) assisted in ending her life by Justice Department medics some time later, with her old friend Dredd in attendance, having refused pain meds so that she would remain lucid to the last. Her body was, supposedly, ceremonially flown into the heart of the sun.

It was later revealed that Hershey had had another sister who was unable to have children, and that Hershey had donated her eggs to her. As a result, the sister's daughter and grandchildren were genetically Hershey's. The family had been caught up in a robot coup in Guatamala, and in accordance with Hershey's last wish, Dredd led a mission to rescue them. Hershey's grandson was killed and his organs harvested before Dredd could save him, but the remainder of the family were returned to Mega City-One and placed under Justice Department protection.

Still later, it was revealed that the still terminally ill Hershey had actually faked her own death and cremation before leaving the city to undertake one final mission.

Powers and abilities[]

Abilities

Leadership skills.

Strength level

Human female who gets regular exercise.

Weaknesses

She just can't get the staff.

Paraphernalia[]

Equipment

Accessory pouch containing three heatseeker shells; helmet containing internal visor display (including infra-red) and respirator; uniform made from plasti-steel reinforced material. Later, bionic hand and leg.

Transportation

Lawmaster bike.

Weapons

Lawgiver handgun which can fire six types of shell: heatseeker, rubber ricochet, incendiary, armour-piercing, high explosive and standard execution. Also daystick and bootknife.

Notes[]

Hershey's predecessors as Chief Judge nearly all ended up doing something that badly let down Mega-City One and caused civilian deaths. (Cal was insane and murdered people for fun; Griffin was brainwashed into collaborating with Sov invaders; McGruder and Volt both made fatal errors of judgement; Silver's actions led to the deaths of 60 million in the Necropolis disaster; Francisco's actions caused 350 million to die on Chaos Day, leading him to hand over to Hershey.) This is probably why, when it came to defending her city, Hershey had nerves of steel and an unflinching, diamond-hard determination to do whatever she needed to do to protect the citizens. Hence the profile picture, which shows her preparing to fight off a horde of alien ice monsters as the city slowly freezes to death.

Trivia[]

  • Chief Judge Hershey is presumably not related to the US actor Barbara Hershey, born in 1948.
  • Hershey featured in a one-page humour strip written by Matt Smith and drawn by Jock in the 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Special. She was shown enjoying a flute of shampagne at a party with some other Judge Dredd supporting characters which was abruptly terminated when Dredd showed up.

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