Judge orders noisy convict’s mouth to be sealed with duct tape

3 min


A judge ordered a convict appearing in his court to have his mouth gagged with duct tape when he refused to stop interrupting.

Judge John Russo ordered that Franklyn Williams’ mouth to be taped over to prevent him from speaking after warning him to be silent at least 12 times over the course of 30 minutes.

Williams, 32, was being sentenced for armed robbery at the time and talked almost continuously during the hearing.

Judge Russo told the accused, who was dressed in an orange suit and was sitting next to his lawyer who was unable to speak: “I’m going to hear from your lawyers and that means zip it.”

Franklyn Williams
Franklyn Williams was gagged to stop him interrupting

When Williams interjected with “That means you are not letting me tell what’s going on,” the Judge said: “That means zip it, right now, does that make sense?”

As Williams said: “I’m not being allowed to speak how I need to speak”, officers in the courtroom ripped off a 15ins-long piece of red duct tape and placed it over Williams mouth.

A second piece of tape was required soon after to prevent Williams from complaining about the gag.

Judge Russo later told Fox News: “I will say that over my time handling his four cases, Mr Williams, I know for a fact, was someone who liked to speak.

“Everybody has the opportunity to make a record with my court reporter but we can’t do it at the same time, we can’t do it yelling over each other.

Judge John Russo. Pic: Fox News
Judge John Russo said it was necessary to maintain decorum. Pic: Fox News

“So my intent today was never to silence Mr Williams. I gave him an opportunity to speak when it was appropriate but more than not he continued to speak over me.”

Fox News said the judge, from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, had been determined to maintain decorum in his court.

Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in jail for aggravated robbery, kidnapping and theft.

He had previously won the right to a retrial after successfully appealing against his original 2016 conviction for the offences.

But Williams absconded during the December trial, cutting off his leg electronic tag monitor and fleeing to Nebraska from where he had to be extradited.

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