Judge orders defendant's mouth taped shut for sentencing

Ohio judge orders chatty defendant's mouth taped for sentencing

One of the deputies places a strip of red tape around Williams' mouth.

Judge John Russo was presiding over a hearing in OH which saw Franklyn Williams sentenced to 24 years for aggravated robbery, theft and kidnapping.

"Mr. Williams, I'm the judge in the matter, shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk", the Cleveland judge told Williams, according to WREG. Shut your mouth, and I'll tell you when you can talk.

Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo drew some national attention this week thanks to the picture above. "You'll get a chance to talk". Over the course of 30 minutes, Williams received dozens of warnings from Judge John Russo. I don't even remember me going to a trial.

However Williams shows no signs of protesting.

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

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He let the law enforcement officers tape him without protesting further, with Judge Russo still promising to allow him to speak once he had finished.

Video filmed inside the court shows Williams speaking as Ruso repeatedly tells him to be quiet, Fox8 reports. Williams complained about authorities removing his possessions from his cell, and just meeting his attorney "the other day", but Russo said this was brought up at the wrong time. "My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams, I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time".

Williams is angry his lawyer didn't do more to speak up for him. As Williams was in contempt of court, Russo was well within his legal rights to order Williams to be gagged in the courtroom.

In a 1970 court case "Illinois v Allen", justices unanimously decided that defendants did not have an absolute right to be present at their own trials. "Listening to the duct tape go pffffttttt, I still here that at night", Williams said.

Another said: "Not a good thing. You got it?" the judge said.

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

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