Judge Hershey

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Judge Hershey
Judge Hershey (2000 AD).jpg
Judge Dredd and Chief Judge Hershey (painted by John Burns)
Publication information
PublisherRebellion Developments
First appearance2000 AD prog 162 (1980)
Created byJohn Wagner and Brian Bolland
In-story information
Full nameBarbara Hershey

Chief Judge Barbara Hershey is a fictional character in the Judge Dredd series that appears in British comic 2000 AD. For nearly two decades she regularly appeared as Dredd's junior colleague, before being promoted to become his superior in 1999. She also had her own solo series, Judge Hershey, in the Judge Dredd Megazine (1992–1996).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Judge Hershey
Deputy Chief Judge of Mega-City One
In office
Chief judgeHadrian Volt
Preceded byPaul Herriman
Chief Judge of Mega-City One
In office
Preceded byHadrian Volt
Succeeded byDan Francisco
Chief Judge of Mega-City One
In office
Preceded byDan Francisco
Succeeded byJudge Logan

Shortly after her graduation from the Academy of Law in 2102 at age eighteen,[1] Judge Hershey was the surprise choice to join the crew of the spaceship Justice 1 for the dangerous deep-space mission to find the Judge Child, who had been abducted by the Angel Gang. Working closely with Judge Dredd every step of the way, she came through the mission with great credit and was highly commended in his personal log. Hershey returned to the streets of Mega-City One a tougher and infinitely more experienced judge, but she was ill-prepared for the attack of Fink Angel some months later, when he came seeking revenge on the Judges responsible for the deaths of his brothers and his father.[2] The young judge barely escaped, but she had already developed a knack for survival – a knack which proved useful during the Apocalypse War, when Hershey was called upon again by Judge Dredd to join his "Apocalypse Squad" for a daring commando raid which ended the war.[3]

When Chief Judge McGruder resigned her position in 2108, Hershey became the youngest ever member of the Council of Five.[4] Her meteoric rise up the Justice Department's "greasy pole" saw her hotly tipped to become chief judge in due course, but she denied any real ambitions in this direction.[5] Even so, she soon experienced the power that goes with the office when she was asked to serve as acting chief judge while McGruder – back for an unprecedented second term of office – attended a crisis meeting of judges from all over the world to find a way to defeat Sabbat the Necromagus in 2114.[6]

In 2116 Hershey was part of the delegation of Senior Judges who tried to convince McGruder to reform the Council of Five – inactive since McGruder's return to power – but the Chief Judge refused to comply, as she suspected Hershey was after her job.[5] McGruder's judgement had definitely become questionable, but she insisted on remaining the only voice at the top of the Justice Department until one of the "Mechanismo" robot judges she was so enthusiastic about tried to kill her. Realising her error at last, McGruder wasted no time in tendering her resignation and she entrusted Judge Hershey – along with SJS Chief Niles and Psi Division Chief Shenker – with the job of running the Justice Department until a new chief judge could be elected. Hershey was the only one of those three who actually put their name forward for the post, expressing her desire for more open government. Her liberal views did not go down well with her colleagues, however, and she received only 13 votes in the ballot among Senior Judges, while the new chief judge, Hadrian Volt, won with 208.[7]

Following the murder of Deputy Chief Judge Herriman in 2120, Volt appointed Hershey to that post.[8] The following year she became acting chief judge following the suicide of Volt at the end of the Second Robot War.[9] She was subsequently elected chief judge in her own right, trouncing the only other candidate, Judge Loblaw.[10]

At over nine years, Hershey had the longest reign (2122–2131) of any chief judge since Clarence Goodman, and the longest since the comic strip began in 1977. She brought about several liberal reforms, and kept Dredd close as she still valued his advice and experience.[11] She reigned through several major threats, such as the Total War bombings and a Xenomorph invasion of the Grand Hall of Justice, as well an attempted assassination by Armon Gill.

While slightly more moderate than earlier chief judges, she still made use of black operations and aggressive foreign policy. In 2128 she used a covert assassin to make neighbouring Neocuba's leader think East-Meg Two was trying to assassinate him, thus destroying the alliance between the two states and ensuring that Neocuba became more loyal to Mega-City One; the same assassin was also used to hack into Brit-Cit's computer systems for the purposes of espionage.[12] In the same year, she oversaw the conquest of Ciudad Barranquilla under the guise of humanitarian intervention.[13] Despite Dredd's misgivings over these acts, he has described her as "the best chief judge we've ever had."[14]

In 2130 she repealed the anti-mutant laws (largely at Dredd's insistence), making her unpopular with the public and many judges.[15] In the following year senior judges began a campaign to have her voted out of office and replaced with a hardline candidate who would reinstate those laws.[16] Judge Dan Francisco won the election by a landslide,[17] and appointed Hershey to a position on another planet.[18]

Hershey returned to Mega-City One two years later and returned to street duty in sector 95. She helped Dredd deal with a widespread terrorist massacre, and – as she was slightly rusty – she was wounded in combat.[19]

In the story Day of Chaos, set in 2134, a deadly plague wiped out seven eighths of the city's population. Francisco resigned and appointed Hershey to form an interim government. Hershey admitted she would rather not have the responsibility, but could not refuse due to the scale of the catastrophe. She also wondered if the judges deserved another chance after so great a failure.[20]

By the end of the year, Hershey had worked out a major reorganisation of Justice Department, merging multiple divisions into a larger Street Division and a new Undercover Operations Division. Dredd protested at the appointment of Black Operations head Judge Bachmann to the new Undercover Division, but Bachmann's promotion was only Hershey's ploy to expose her as a traitor. It backfired when Bachmann attempted a coup and almost overthrew Justice Department.[21]

In 2139 Hershey reintroduced the Mechanismo robot judges, the failure of which had ended Chief Judge McGruder's career 23 years earlier. Her efforts to win Dredd over failed.[22]

In 2141 Hershey decided to step down for a second time, and nominated Judge Logan as her successor.[23]

In other media[edit]

Judge Dredd film[edit]

Judge Hershey in Judge Dredd portrayed by Diane Lane.

In the 1995 film Judge Dredd, Hershey is played by Diane Lane. She is portrayed as a newly graduated Judge who has been a Street Judge for only a year and is shown to be more sympathetic to perps than Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). Also in contrast to Dredd, she has a personal life and friends. When Dredd is accused of murder he selects Hershey as his defence because "she was at the top of her class in interpretational law" and she appears to be the nearest thing he has to a friend. After she fails to exonerate Dredd and he is sentenced, she continues to investigate the case and uncovers the Janus Project – a secret cloning program that the Council of Five initiated forty years previously that created Dredd and Rico (Armand Assante) from Chief Fargo's (Max von Sydow) DNA. Hershey and Dredd discover that the Janus Project has been reinstated by Rico and the pair manage to defeat Rico and prevent evil clones from taking over the city.

The film drew criticism from fans of the comic because of a scene in which Hershey kisses Dredd, something which the comic version of the character would never do (although an episode in the comic portrayed an evil Hershey from an alternative timeline attempting without success to seduce Dredd).[24]

Judge Hershey's name was mentioned in the 2012 film Dredd, in a caption on a computer screen which reads "Assigned to Judge Hershey."

Judge Dredd computer game[edit]

She appeared as a playable character in the arcade levels of the 2003 computer game Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death, voiced by Teresa Gallagher.

Radio play[edit]

Hershey appears in the radio play Judge Dredd: Jihad written by James Swallow and produced by Big Finish Productions, again voiced by Gallagher.

Bibliography (solo stories)[edit]

  • Judge Hershey:
  • Hershey & Steel:
    • "Degenomancer" (by Dave Stone and Charlie Adlard, in Judge Dredd Megazine #2.35-2.36, 1993)
  • Judge Hershey:
    • "The Harlequin's Dance" (by Igor Goldkind and Kevin Cullen, in Judge Dredd Megazine #2.37-2.40, 1993)
    • "Hov-Bus Blues" (by Robbie Morrison and Darren Stephens, in Judge Dredd Mega-Special 1993)
    • "Naked and Unashamed" (by Robbie Morrison and Paul Peart, in Judge Dredd Yearbook 1994)
    • "Spider in the Web" (by Paul Neal and Marc Wigmore, in Judge Dredd Megazine #3.09-3.10, 1995)
    • "Barbara" (by Paul Neal and Marc Wigmore, in Judge Dredd Megazine #3.11, 1995)
    • "The Enemy" (by Paul Neal and Marc Wigmore, in Judge Dredd Megazine #3.12-3.13, 1995–1996)
    • "Sacrifices" (by Paul Neal and Marc Wigmore, in Judge Dredd Megazine #3.18, 1996)
    • "I Don't Believe in Love" (script and art by Marc Wigmore, in Judge Dredd Megazine #3.28, 1997)


  1. ^ 2000 AD #162; 1178
  2. ^ 2000 AD #193-196
  3. ^ 2000 AD #263-270
  4. ^ 2000 AD #457
  5. ^ a b Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 2 #53
  6. ^ 2000 AD #792
  7. ^ 2000 AD #915-918
  8. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 3 #53
  9. ^ 2000 AD #1167
  10. ^ 2000 AD #1178
  11. ^ 2000 AD #1466
  12. ^ Megazine #245
  13. ^ Megazine #246-249
  14. ^ 2000 AD #1632
  15. ^ 2000 AD #2008 and 1569-75
  16. ^ 2000 AD #1628
  17. ^ 2000 AD #1633
  18. ^ 2000 AD #1649
  19. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #307
  20. ^ 2000 AD #1789
  21. ^ 2000 AD #1806–1812
  22. ^ 2000 AD #2024–2029
  23. ^ 2000 AD #2115
  24. ^ 2000 AD #396, 1984. However Dredd was not fooled, and so he shot her.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paul Herriman
Deputy Chief Judge of Mega-City One
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Hadrian Volt
Chief Judge of Mega-City One
(Acting chief judge 2114; 2115; 2121–2122)
Succeeded by
Dan Francisco
Preceded by
Dan Francisco
Chief Judge of Mega-City One
Succeeded by
Judge Logan