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Judge ordered man's mouth taped shut in court after repeatedly telling him to 'zip it'

Judge ordered man's mouth taped shut in court after repeatedly telling him to 'zip it'

The defendant had his mouth taped shut after he kept interrupting court proceedings

A judge grew so impatient with a defendant's constant talking that he ordered for him to have his mouth taped shut in court.

Judge John J. Russo was in no mood for Franklyn Williams when he saw the man in court on charges of burglary.

Williams was in court for his second trial after claiming that his lawyer hadn't properly explained what the charges were His first trial had took place in 2016, where he pleaded guilty to the robbery charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

When he appeared before Judge Russo in a Ohio court room in 2018, he had a lot to say and repeatedly ignored calls for him to 'zip it'.

Eventually, Judge Russo ordered for the defendant to have duct tape placed over his mouth.

As the bailiffs moved in, Williams was given a stern warning: "If you spit on, attempt to bite or injure any of my deputies, you're gonna have a bad day."

Williams complied and allowed to tape his mouth shut - although he still continued to protest.

Footage of the bizarre incident went nationwide and led to a lot of comment about whether or not Judge Russo's actions were justified.

A fellow judge that took on Williams' case afterwards suggested that it wasn't the best course of action but wasn't totally unusual.

Franklyn Williams refused to keep quiet in court so had his mouth taped shut.
Fox 8 News Cleveland

But ultimately, Judge Cosgrove focused on sentencing Williams rather than picking over the decisions made by Judge Russo: "We can not go back, only forward."

Williams was outraged by the taping incident: "I suffered the ultimate humiliation.

"[I was treated like] a dog about to be put to sleep."

Williams' lawyer also slammed the decision to tape his mouth closed: "When you see a defendant sitting in a courtroom with his mouth taped, your first impression is, ‘he must have killed someone'.

"He must have done something really, really horrible to be treated like an animal by someone who is supposed to represent justice and fairness."

Ultimately, Williams was sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2019.

Judge Russo initially defended his actions, saying: "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."

Williams later described the situation as 'humiliating'.
Fox 8 News Cleveland

He added that his intent was never 'to silence Mr Williams' and had 'gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time'.

However, he later issued an apology and said that the action had 'eroded the trust he had worked so diligently with others to build'.

Whilst on trial, Williams told the court that he wished to be 'the voice of of black men and teenagers killed by police across the country', and named Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant in his statement.

Featured Image Credit: Fox 8 News

Topics: US News, Crime