‘Shut Your Mouth’: Judge Orders Convicted Robber’s Mouth Taped Shut During Sentencing

A judge in Cleveland OH ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut after he wouldn’t stop talking during sentencing

Franklyn Williams, 32, had his lips forcibly sealed with red tape after he kept interrupting Judge John Russo during Tuesday's hearing.

Russo told Fox 8 he gave the defendant plenty of warnings and that he had to gag Williams because the court reporter could not keep up with the crosstalk. He had cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and skipped town in the middle of his December trial.

Williams ignores the threats and carries on speaking, which is when Judge Russo orders for him to be gagged. "I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time".

Becoming frustrated by William's refusal to stay quiet, Judge Russo says: "Mr Williams, I'm the judge in the matter".

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.

This was actually his second conviction in the case.


But the thief, who was convicted for three armed robberies, wouldn't pipe down.

An armed robber had his mouth taped shut during his sentencing at a U.S. court in an incident slammed as "humiliating" and "wrong", by a civil liberties organisation. In order to combat the chatty defendant, Russo ordered to have his mouth taped shut by six deputies. "I'm going to tape it, and I'll unzip it when I want you to talk".

"At this point, I'm going to hear from your lawyers, and that means zip it", said Russo.

Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison for agravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability. Williams complained about authorities removing his possessions from his cell, and just meeting his attorney "the other day", but Russo said this was brought up at the wrong time. He told the station is was legal for a deputy to gag a defendant. He had previously been sentenced to 14 years after pleading guilty, but later won an appeal because he had been misinformed about when he would be eligible for early release from prison.

In any other circumstance, Williams would be held in contempt of court.

"No it doesn't", the Williams responded.

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