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Thursday, August 2, 2018

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

Franklyn Williams

32-year old Franklyn Williams

Cleveland, OH — Franklyn Williams, a convicted robber, had his mouth taped shut when the judge ordered for it after losing patience for his talkativeness during his sentencing trial last Tuesday. The judge says it was legal, but many people think it was rather humiliating and dehumanizing.

Williams, a 32-year old Black man, was convicted of three armed robberies during his trial. Apparently, he has a lot more to say and complain about his own attorneys. He wouldn’t stop talking even though Judge John Russo already warned him several times.

“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,” Judge Russo told him.

But Williams continued interrupting the hearing so Judge Russo ordered his mouth to be taped shut. The judge decided that way also because the stenographers couldn’t properly record the hearings.

The officers went to tape Williams’ mouth as he attempted to stand up. Six deputies surrounded him and one put the red tape over his mouth but he still wouldn’t shut up. The judge ordered to put another piece of tape before he continued with the proceedings.

Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Judge Russo claims that a sheriff’s deputy is legally allowed to gag a defendant when they are contempt in the court. However, many didn’t like what he did.

“We cannot regard this as normal,” ACLU of Ohio staff attorney Elizabeth Bonham said in a statement. “It is humiliating. It doesn’t just deprive this person of the opportunity to speak before his life is taken away, it steals his dignity. Everything about this is wrong.”

A lot of have been reacting on social media as well, saying the move was dehumanizing and the judge would have had just found him in contempt or remove him from the courtroom instead.

Watch exactly what happened below:

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