An Ohio judge ordered deputies to tape a defendant’s mouth shut during a court hearing Tuesday.
WJW reported that Franklyn Williams, 32, who is accused of three armed robberies, was at his sentencing hearing at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. He continued speaking for over 30 minutes, even though he received more than a dozen warnings.
Video from inside the court room showed Judge John Russo ask Williams to stop talking multiple times. Williams continued talking even after saying he understood the directions to stop talking.
Deputies then surrounded Williams as one officer placed red duct tape on his mouth. When he continued speaking, another piece of tape was put on his mouth.
“I will say, knowing Mr. Williams due to my handling of his four cases, Mr. Williams was someone who liked to speak. To speak and interrupt. When lawyers were talking, witnesses were talking. More importantly when I was talking,” Russo told WJW.
Russo said that Williams also spoke over his own attorney.
“Everybody has the right to go on the record with my court reporter,” Russo said. “But we can’t do it at the same time or yelling over each other. My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams.
“I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time. More than not, he continued to speak over me and others in the courtroom.”
Russo added that it is legal for a sheriff’s deputy to gag a defendant when they are in contempt of court.
Williams was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Williams’ attorney had no comment, according to WJW.
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