Judge orders man's mouth to be taped shut during sentencing

Franklyn Williams

Franklyn Williams, 32, was humiliatingly gagged with red duct tape after Judge John Russo became frustrated at his inability to stay quiet during his sentencing on Tuesday (31 July). Williams "would not stop talking, despite more than a dozen warnings over the course of about 30 minutes".

The drama began when Williams complained about only meeting his defence attorney recently, and having his cellphone taken from his cell, Fox 8 reported.

Williams continued to ignore the stern order, prompting Judge Russo to direct sheriff's deputies to tape him up until he had finished talking.

"No", Williams responded. "Because you're trying to take my life, Judge, and you're not letting me tell you what's going on".

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The American Civil Liberties Union lambasted the decision to tape Williams' mouth. He pleaded guilty the first time around, and was sentenced to 14 year behind bars, but won an appeal after a court determined he received inaccurate information about his eligibility for release. The court says he disappeared in the middle of his trial.

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.

Fox News said the judge, from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, had been determined to maintain decorum in his court. "Don't talk. Mr. Williams, it would be very simple to gag you". "But we can't do it at the same time or yelling over each other", he said.

Image: Judge John Russo said the move was necessary to maintain decorum.

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"Zip it until I give you a chance to talk", the judge said.

"I want to make it real clear, if you spit on, attempt to bite, or injure any of my deputies, we're going to have a bad day", Jude Russo warns.

He is now beginning to serve a sentence of 24 months in prison. 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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