Photo Courtesy of Fox 8

Ohio Judge Tapes Black Defendant's Mouth Shut During Sentencing Hearing

Ohio judge ordered a convicted robber’s mouth taped shut during his sentencing in a Cleveland court Tuesday.

Franklyn Williams, 32, of Cleveland was convicted of three armed robberies during his trial, but apparently had more to say on the matter as Judge John Russo tried to speak. Williams, not only, spoke over the judge but also his own attorneys despite numerous warnings to remain quiet.

Williams had been complaining about his attorneys before Judge Russo stated: “Mr. Williams, I’m the judge in the matter, shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk…If we have to, I will gag you in one second.”

Williams continued to interrupt the proceedings and a few moments later, Judge Russo ordered his mouth to be taped shut. The judge cited the stenographers inability to effectively record the hearing as his justification for the decision.

‘I’m going to tape it, and I’ll unzip it when I want you to talk,’ he said.

As officers approached Williams, he attempted to stand up but was pushed back into his seat. In total, six deputies surrounded Williams as one of the deputies applied the red tape. When Williams continued to speak, the judge instructed deputies to put another piece of tape over his mouth.

Russo claimed his actions were legal. The Associate Press reported that in 2009, an Idaho judge ordered a defendant to be silenced using tape after outbursts.

At the time of the case, the ACLU of Idaho declined to comment on specifics.

However, the organization said “on one hand judges have a right to keep order in their court and on the other the defendants have a right to assist in their own defense and be present at trial.

“Our hope is that judges employ the least restrictive manner of keeping order in their courts.”

The typical procedure to address a disorderly defendant is to find him in contempt or simply, remove him from the courtroom. Many on social media are calling Russo’s actions dehumanizing.

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