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Judge Orders Cops To Tape Armed Robber's Mouth Shut During Sentencing

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Judge Orders Cops To Tape Armed Robber's Mouth Shut During Sentencing

This is the moment a judge in the United States ordered his sheriff deputies to tape a defendant's mouth shut during trial.

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Franklyn Williams, 32, was humiliatingly gagged with red duct tape after Judge John Russo became frustrated at his inability to stay quiet during his sentencing on Tuesday (31 July).

Williams was appearing in court at his second trial regarding armed robbery.

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His original trial began in 2016, when the defendant pleaded guilty to robbery charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

However, Williams demanded a new trial after he claimed his lawyer hadn't properly explained what charges he was pleading guilty to, arguing that he had been wrongly informed he would be eligible for early release after he served just seven years, when he actually had to serve his entire sentence.

A retrial was then stalled after Williams cut his ankle tag and fled to Nebraska before being rearrested and sent back to court.

In the video above, we see the events unfold as Williams tries to defend himself, disregarding orders to stay silent.

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Becoming frustrated by William's refusal to stay quiet, Judge Russo says: "Mr Williams, I'm the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I'll tell you when you can talk."

Credit: FOX8
Credit: FOX8

Williams replies, "But you're not letting me tell you what's going on.

"You're trying to take my life, judge, and you're not letting me tell you what's going on. It's not fair."

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"If we have to, I will gag you in one second," threatens Russo in reply. "I'm going to tape it, and I'll unzip it when I want you to talk."

Williams ignores the threats and carries on speaking, which is when Judge Russo orders for him to be gagged.

Credit: FOX8
Credit: FOX8

"I want to make it real clear, if you spit on, attempt to bite, or injure any of my deputies, we're going to have a bad day," Jude Russo warns.

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However Williams shows no signs of protesting. He simply shakes his head, commenting: "It is what it is," as they tape his mouth shut.

Judge Russo has since defended his actions, following a backlash of public disapproval.

"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," he told vibe.com.

"My intent was never to silence Mr Williams, I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time. More than not, he continued to speak over me and others in the courtroom."

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Some have queried whether gagging the defendant was allowed in court, but Russo claims it was completely legal for him to gag the defendant and found previous cases to support his actions.

In a 1970 court case 'Illinois v Allen', justices unanimously decided that defendants did not have an absolute right to be present at their own trials.

In the case, judges were allowed to "bind and gag as a last resort, thereby keeping him present; (2) cite him for criminal or civil contempt; or (3) remove him from the courtroom while the trial continues, until he promises to conduct himself properly," found the Miami Herald.

Here though, there were no attempts to remove Williams from the court and instead a gag was enforced.

Credit: FOX8
Credit: FOX8

There has been an influx of comments about the incident on Twitter, with many people outraged by what they saw on the FOX8 video.

One user simply commented: "#ThisIsAmerica" in reference to Childish Gambino's cryptic music video featuring his chilling depiction of the United States.

Another said: "Not a good thing. Dignity and respect [is] important, even for convicts."

"Eject the defendant from the court room if they are being unruly. Who the fuck thinks [it] is appropriate to tape a person's mouth shut in a court room. This judge should be disbarred," said a third commenter.

Franklyn Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Featured Image Credit: Fox8

Topics: Court Case, united states, law, US News, Ohio, court

Megan Walsh
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