Ohio Judge Orders Man’s Mouth Taped Shut During Sentencing
A judge in Ohio ordered deputies to tape a defendant’s mouth shut during sentencing on July 31.
Franklyn Williams, 32, was standing trial in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court when the judge lost patience with his interruptions.
After warning Williams multiple times, Judge John Russo decided to take action, reported Fox 8. Williams “would not stop talking, despite more than a dozen warnings over the course of about 30 minutes. Williams even interrupted his own attorneys,” the outlet reported.
Six deputies stood around Williams as one applied the tape, then another piece as Williams continued trying to talk.
Ultimately, Williams was sentenced to 24 years in prison, after being convicted late last year of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards, and having weapons under a disability.
“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,” Judge Russo told Fox 8 after the trial.
“Everybody has the right to go on the record with my court reporter. But we can’t do it at the same time or yelling over each other. My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams.”
Williams cut his ankle bracelet and fled to Nebraska before the trial, claiming he was hit over the head and lost his memory. But prosecutors played audio recordings of Williams on the phone with family members that showed he didn’t lose his memory.
Williams originally pleaded guilty to the charge of robbery and was sentenced to 14 years in prison but he appealed the sentence, arguing that his attorney had told him he’d be eligible for early release after he served seven years in prison, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
An appeals court sided with him and threw out the sentence, ordering a second trial.