A judge is facing criticism for the way he restrained a man from talking in court.
Ohio Judge John Russo ordered officers to place red tape around the mouth of defendant Franklyn Williams after they went back and forth about inconsistencies in the trial, according to Fox 8. Williams would not stop talking even though he reportedly received more than a dozen warnings from Russo over the course of about 30 minutes. Williams even interrupted his own attorneys.
A video of Russo and Williams’ exchange be seen as well as the moment the tape is placed on the latter’s mouth below.
“Mr. Williams,” the judge said. “I’m the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?”
Exchanges between the pair continue later on in the video.
“You’re trying to take my life away, judge, and you’re not letting me tell you what’s going on,” Williams said.
“I’m going to tape it, and then I’ll unzip it when I want you to talk,” Russo responded.
Following the incident, Russo defended the action, telling reporters:
“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. 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.”
The incident occurred during Williams’ second trial regarding robbery charges. After he previously pleaded guilty to counts of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability, Williams claimed he was misinformed about when he would be eligible for release.
The case was retried but delayed after Williams reportedly cut off his ankle bracelet and fled to Nebraska. Russo sentenced him to 24 years in prison.
Source: Fox 8