Judge Tapes Defendant's Mouth Shut After He Wouldn't Stop Talking

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An Ohio judge told six of his bailiffs to tape the mouth shut of a defendant who wouldn't stop talking. He ultimately sentenced the man to 24 years in prison.

A black man was forced to have his mouth taped over because the judge presiding over his court case wanted to stop him from talking.

Franklyn Williams, 32, was charged with a slew of crimes, including aggravated robbery, theft, kidnapping, misuse of credit cards, and unlawful possession of a weapon. He even tried to flee to Nebraska, breaking off his ankle bracelet before his date at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Williams had wanted to defend himself — and he was admittedly very vocal during the proceedings. Over the course of 30 minutes, Williams received dozens of warnings from Judge John Russo.

“Mr. Williams, I’m the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?” Russo said at one point.

It got so bad that the judge took some drastic — and inappropriate — measures to keep Williams quiet: He eventually ordered six of his court bailiffs to tape Williams' mouth shut.

In any other circumstance, Williams would be held in contempt of court. He’d have been thrown into lockup while the judge would have been able to administer his verdict (Williams was sentenced to 24 years in prison).

Instead, Russo treated Williams in an undignified way. This should not have been allowed to happen, and one should reasonably wonder whether Russo would have treated a white criminal in the same manner.

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.

But criminals have rights as well, and they deserve to be treated with dignity as human beings. When they act up in court, that means they should be held in contempt of court — not forced to stay quiet by the judge through abuse of their judicial powers.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

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