CLOSINGS: View Closings

Cleveland judge orders defendant's mouth taped

An Ohio judge ordered a defendant's mouth taped shut during a courtroom hearing, and a media outlet's video caught the scene of officers duct-taping the man's face to silence him.

Posted: Aug 5, 2018 3:46 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2018 4:05 PM

An Ohio judge ordered a defendant's mouth taped shut during a courtroom hearing, and a media outlet's video caught the scene of an officer duct-taping the man's face to silence him.

The incident took place earlier this week, when a judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered Franklyn Williams, 32, to remain silent during his sentencing hearing, according to CNN affiliate WJW.

Despite warnings from Judge John Russo, Williams continued to speak over the judge and his attorneys, according to the video.

The courtroom video, shot by and first aired on WJW, shows Russo repeatedly scolding Williams for talking.

"Mr. Williams," Russo says on the video, "I'm the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?"

Russo proceeds to tell Williams that he would like to hear from the defendant's attorneys first and then will give him a chance to speak, but Williams continues to talk.

"You are trying to take my life, and you are not letting me tell you what's going on," Williams says on the video.

After several interruptions, Russo then gives him a last warning.

"Listen to me, if we have to, I will gag you ... you will get a chance to talk," Russo says. "Just zip it, you will get a chance to talk, I'm going to give you a chance to talk."

Williams continues to talk, and Russo orders for Williams' mouth to be taped shut, according to the video.

Six sheriff's deputies walk up to Williams and as Williams tries to get up, one of the officers is shown forcing him back down. Another officer proceeds to tape his mouth with red duct tape.

The video quickly caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which characterized the judge's actions as humiliating to the defendant.

"We cannot regard this as normal. 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," the organization said in a tweet.

After the incident, Williams spoke to reporters, and said he had a reason why he wouldn't be quiet.

"The judge would not allow me to say the things that I was trying to say on record. He would always stop me before I was able to explain anything on my behalf," Williams told WJW from his jail cell.

CNN has reached out to Williams' attorneys for further comment.

Williams was sentenced to prison for aggravated robbery, kidnapping and misuse of credit cards, according to the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Court's online records.

When CNN reached out to Judge Russo, he refused to comment through his bailiff, Patrice P. Stack, who said this is because the case is likely to be appealed.

Russo told WJW that he never intended for things to go as far as they did, and he said he was justified to order the taping because the defendant showed disrespect for the legal system.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 289303

Reported Deaths: 3434
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin616511100
Ramsey25903487
Anoka20522218
Dakota20096183
Washington13066109
Stearns1291098
St. Louis7935101
Scott782754
Wright702436
Olmsted626134
Sherburne538640
Clay463856
Carver432213
Blue Earth387112
Rice386033
Kandiyohi373819
Crow Wing334631
Nobles298729
Chisago29358
Otter Tail282818
Benton278642
Winona258128
Mower241323
Douglas237631
Polk234423
Morrison219524
Lyon201911
McLeod195610
Beltrami194615
Becker187512
Goodhue185727
Steele17826
Itasca176124
Isanti174316
Todd171612
Carlton165710
Nicollet150823
Freeborn14465
Mille Lacs141630
Le Sueur138110
Waseca134011
Cass12849
Brown125011
Pine12458
Meeker11308
Roseau10503
Hubbard103822
Martin101920
Wabasha9611
Redwood83718
Dodge8060
Chippewa8057
Watonwan7984
Cottonwood7682
Renville75119
Sibley7414
Wadena7376
Aitkin69826
Rock6829
Pipestone67818
Houston6422
Fillmore6320
Yellow Medicine59311
Pennington5856
Kanabec54912
Murray5493
Swift5366
Faribault5081
Pope4990
Stevens4643
Clearwater4536
Marshall4438
Jackson4361
Unassigned38759
Lake3816
Koochiching3535
Wilkin3465
Lac qui Parle3383
Norman3227
Lincoln3171
Big Stone2841
Mahnomen2704
Grant2516
Red Lake2033
Kittson1917
Traverse1360
Lake of the Woods931
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 222064

Reported Deaths: 2319
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33019331
Linn13877164
Scott1085683
Black Hawk10730134
Woodbury10159121
Johnson935536
Dubuque907691
Story669721
Dallas624657
Pottawattamie612469
Sioux364625
Webster353033
Marshall343545
Cerro Gordo342644
Clinton319839
Buena Vista300014
Des Moines281719
Muscatine280968
Warren274011
Plymouth268941
Wapello251171
Jones227913
Jasper212443
Marion201719
Lee197916
Carroll195422
Bremer191312
Henry18037
Crawford173015
Benton166217
Tama152240
Jackson142113
Delaware140221
Washington137414
Dickinson134210
Boone134011
Mahaska125327
Wright12156
Buchanan115010
Clay11314
Hardin113010
Page11134
Hamilton10809
Clayton10715
Harrison106129
Cedar104913
Calhoun10487
Kossuth10236
Floyd102216
Mills10177
Fayette10159
Lyon10058
Poweshiek97913
Butler9746
Winneshiek95412
Iowa92312
Winnebago90223
Hancock8497
Louisa83916
Grundy83811
Chickasaw8354
Sac8297
Cherokee8134
Cass79721
Appanoose77310
Mitchell7704
Allamakee76811
Union7546
Humboldt7525
Shelby75010
Emmet74724
Guthrie73715
Franklin72921
Jefferson6852
Madison6734
Palo Alto6454
Unassigned6320
Keokuk5737
Pocahontas5532
Howard5419
Greene5160
Osceola5131
Clarke4774
Ida46813
Taylor4563
Davis4508
Montgomery44911
Monroe43712
Adair4298
Monona4212
Fremont3543
Van Buren3525
Worth3520
Lucas3216
Decatur3150
Wayne2957
Audubon2942
Ringgold2022
Adams1642
Rochester
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 21°
Mason City
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 24°
Albert Lea
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 23°
Charles City
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 17°
A Sunny and Mild Saturday Expected
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sidelined in quarantine: Coach Fennelly talks about his experience away from the game

Image

Here Comes Santa Claus Drive-Thru

Image

Here Comes Santa Claus Drive-Thru

Image

Santa Claus Visits Rochester to Lead Drive-Thru Parade

Image

Aaron's Friday Evening Forecast

Image

Increased demand for real Christmas trees

Image

Santa visits Rochester for drive-thru parade

Image

Salvation Army needs bell ringers

Image

Search for man stalking women

Image

Downtown Alliance for shopping locally

Community Events