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Real name
Cadet Dredd
Chief Judge Fargo (clone); Joseph Dredd (clone); Dolman (clone); Jessica Paris (clone); Vienna Dredd (surrogate niece)
Base of operations
Mega-City One

Marital status
Academy of Law
Clone of Judge Dredd
Place of birth
Texas City
First appearance
Last appearance

2000 AD prog 1186
2000 AD prog 2011 (published Jan 2017)


Rico is a character from the Judge Dredd strips in 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine. He took his name from the original Rico Dredd, brother of Judge Dredd, and is a clone of Dredd himself. Unlike his namesake, Rico is a dedicated and honest Judge who wants to devote his life to serving his city; unlike Dredd, he has not quite lost his human side. He is particularly fond of Dredd's niece Vienna, daughter of the original Rico.

From conception to graduation

In a manner of speaking, Dredd and Rico met before Rico was born, as Rico was one of the Judge clones growing in mobile midwife units that Dredd and Mean Angel had to rescue from kidnappers in the Cursed Earth in 2106 AD (in the story 'Dredd Angel'). The clones were en route to Texas City, where Rico was 'born' and became a cadet. He was transferred back to Mega-City One after Necropolis (one of Mega-City One's periodic disasters which kill millions of people) because they were short of Judges. During his time at Mega-City One's Academy of Law he befriended Dolman, another of Dredd's clones, who was several years younger than him. Nobody had actually told Rico that he had a 'relative' at the Academy, meaning he was left to deduce the boy's heritage from his body language. Rico often felt lonely at the Academy, but that emotion didn't make him resentful or affect his determination to become a Judge.

Dredd first met Rico (who was going by the name 'Dredd' at the time, because Texas City had wanted their own Dredd) properly when the latter was assigned as his rookie in 2122 AD, which meant that Dredd would decide whether or not he became a full Judge. It was a startling occasion for Dredd, who didn't know of Rico's existence and, when he first saw him, mistook him for his dead clone brother. He was also surprised to learn that Rico had been cloned not from Chief Judge Fargo, as Dredd had been told when he went to rescue the unborn clones from the Cursed Earth, but from a routine tissue sample taken from Dredd himself. That's Justice Department all over: excellent at ruling the citizenry with an iron fist; rubbish at emotional intelligence.

During the few hours he was Dredd's rookie, Dredd told Rico the story of the first Rico's life and death (as detailed on the first Rico's page). The rookie passed his assessment (which culminated in his discovery of an illegal adrenaline factory, torturing humans to farm adrenaline with which to manufacture illicit drugs) with flying colours. He decided to take 'Rico' as his new name, replacing 'Dredd', because he thought "the guy deserves a second chance." Judge Rico served a brief stint in the traffic division, probably to ascertain that he wasn't arrogant enough to turn his nose up at a boring, low-status job, before being assigned to Sector 108.

Life as a new Judge

Unfortunately for Rico and everyone around him, immediately after becoming a Judge he was a stickler for following the letter of the law without compromise or flexibility. He angered the other Judges in his sector house by telling his tactical group leader that Judges Martine and Galloway were sexually intimate. They were both demoted and reassigned. Judge Galloway, ashamed at this setback to his promising career, killed himself. Rico's other mistake was to pull strings with Dredd to get P.S.U. (the Public Surveillance Unit) to tail Judge McAw, another member of the tac group whom Rico thought was acting suspiciously. Rico got PSU involved partly because he thought that this way he would avoid alienating the rest of the tac group and partly because, in his opinion, his tac group leader had been reluctant to investigate the Martine/Galloway affair with sufficient rigour.

It emerged that McAw, a popular member of the group, was psychologically damaged and kept a room full of body parts as a way of dealing with all the death he encountered in his job. (It is worth pointing out that McAw hadn't actually murdered anybody, apart from the serial killer whose trophy room it had been originally — the body parts McAw added to the collection came from the morgue.) Because P.S.U. had contributed to this discovery, the news was all over Justice Department. McAw was taken to a psychiatric facility and the remaining Judges in Sector House 108, especially McAw's former partner Judge Levine, regarded Rico with an attitude little short of loathing. His attempt to probe McAw without causing his new colleagues to dislike him had had precisely the opposite effect. He did, however, receive a grade 2 commendation on his service record.

Levine assaulted Rico in the locker room and challenged him to a daystick fight in the gym, a legal method of dispelling bad blood between Judges. Rico accepted because he thought it would clear the air, but after he won the fight the rest of the sector house still disliked him. His partner, Egan, requested and was given leave to work solo, and nobody else wanted to partner Rico. Luckily for him, he shared Dredd's preference for working alone.

When Rico's tac group were investigating a suspicious Black Atlantic freighter, Rico was partnered with Levine in a misguided to end their feud. What actually happened was that Levine went into the cargo hold of the freighter alone, flouting a direct order from the group's leader that no Judges should split from their partners. Concerned for his safety, Rico followed him, which meant that he was disobeying orders too. In the resulting firefight with a group of criminals the freighter was smuggling away from Mega-City One's jurisdiction, Levine was killed and Rico was severely injured. He also lost his memory of the incident. A bullet from Rico's Lawgiver was found in Levine's back, and Rico was briefly interrogated by the S.J.S. They stopped when forensic evidence proved that (a) Rico's bullet had ricocheted off a girder and (b) Levine was already dead when it hit his body. Rico was cleared of murder but received a reprimand on his record for his disobedience.

Becoming a 'family man'

The less than ideal start to Rico's life as a Judge taught him a valuable lesson: Judges were not, as Dredd put it, "the perfect justice machines you've always been told. That's just a fiction they promulgate at the Academy ... We're never going to be perfect. As long as we keep trying, we can't expect any more of ourselves."1 Henceforth, Rico's attitude to lawbreaking was, although not lenient, less uncompromisingly harsh. Having realised that spending his short off-duty hours in sector house quarters was not for him, he moved into Dredd's old apartment in Rowdy Yates block.

Dolman, the younger Dredd clone, became dissatisfied with the life planned for him and in 2126 AD asked to leave the Academy of Law. He was told that he could only quit after spending time on the streets with Judge Rico so that he would know what he was giving up. Judge Rico duly partnered Dolman for a few hours, but didn't succeed in changing his mind. Although he supported Dolman's decision, he was completely baffled by it. Unlike Dolman, Rico has never been frustrated or angered by the fact that he was bred to fulfil a particular rôle and his whole life was mapped out before he was 'born'. He is completely, 100% dedicated to being a Judge of Mega-City One and can imagine no better part to play in life.

However, Rico doesn't let his commitment to his job turn him into a machine. His slightly more relaxed demeanour was demonstrated when he took Dolman to see Vienna Dredd (the daughter of the first Rico). Vienna made him tea, a restricted stimulant which is legal for use in the home, and Rico drank it even though he was on duty, telling a censorious Dolman that "one tea's hardly going to affect me."2 It seems a small thing, but it indicated an important change in Rico's viewpoint. So, of course, did the fact that Rico was visiting Vienna in the first place, with the intention of "fostering a sense of 'family'."3

Judge Rico was tasked with bringing law to mutant settlements in the Cursed Earth after he stuck by his principles and failed to promote the clone of corrupt Acting Chief Judge Sinfield to full Judge status as he had doubts about his attitude. He remained there after Sinfield was deposed but returned in Mega-City One's hour of need following Chaos Day, bringing forty thousand mutants with him to help with the clean-up. Later he was part of a team who helped Dredd restore the city to Chief Judge Hershey's control following a coup by his birthplace, Texas City.

Powers and abilities[]


After being wounded on duty, Rico was given a carbon fibre lung which means he can hold his breath for seven minutes.

Strength level

Peak human male.



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


Lawmaster bike.


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


12000 AD prog 1222.
22000 AD prog 1379.


  • Judge Rico is genetically identical to Chief Judge Fargo, from whom Dredd was cloned.
  • When he was working in Sector 108, Rico used the communal showers. He was completely unmoved when surrounded by naked male and female bodies covered in soapy water.
  • By 2126 AD Rico's stats were better than Dredd's.


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