OH judge orders man's mouth taped shut during sentencing

Ohio judge orders chatty defendant's mouth taped for sentencing

- A man refused to stop talking during his sentencing so the judge had the man's mouth taped shut. Williams was later sentenced to 24 years in prison on counts of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability.

"So, when they put the tape over my mouth, I just felt so humiliated", Williams said after the incident.

Russo ordered his deputies to place a piece of red tape over Williams's mouth.

Franklyn Williams, 32, was standing trial in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court when the judge lost patience with his interruptions. Williams says he plans to appeal his sentence. Authorities said he cut his ankle bracelet after proceedings began.

Williams probably deserved to go to jail - his list of criminal actions is very long, and he even tried to feign amnesia to get out of going to prison.

Later, the judge says he will hear from the lawyers and tells Williams to "zip it".

"Mr. Williams, I'm the judge in the matter". He complained that the judge wasn't letting him tell his side of the court.

"Zip it until I give you a chance to talk", the judge said. "He's gagging me, putting tape over my mouth at this moment", Franklyn Williams said in court Tuesday.

Later, the frustrated judge asked: "Does the comment, 'quit talking, ' do you understand that?"

In the 1970 case IL v. Allen, the justices unanimously decided that defendants do not have an absolute right to even be present at their trial, let alone speak at it.

Russo later defended his order, telling Fox8 he knew Williams was "someone who liked to speak", and that he gave him more than a dozen warnings to stop talking.

Williams had originally admitted the crimes and was sentenced to 14 years.

Here though, there were no attempts to remove Williams from the court and instead a gag was enforced. As Williams was in contempt of court, Russo was well within his legal rights to order Williams to be gagged in the courtroom.

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