An Ohio county judge had an unusual request for his deputies on Tuesday, ordering them to tape shut a suspect’s mouth during his sentencing hearing because he would not stop talking.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Russo sentenced 32-year-old Franklyn Williams to 24 years in prison on Tuesday for his role in three armed robberies, but not before he asked his deputies to tape Williams’s mouth shut, WJW reported.
Williams reportedly would not stop talking when Russo warned him to stop more than a dozen times over 30 minutes. The suspect allegedly interrupted his attorneys as well the judge.
Russo ordered his deputies to place a piece of red tape over Williams’s mouth. The six deputies surrounded the suspect while one applied the tape, but the defendant continued to speak. The judge then ordered the deputies to place another piece of tape over his mouth so the court proceedings could continue without a hitch.
Russo eventually sentenced Williams to 24 years behind bars for counts of aggravated robbery, theft, kidnapping, having weapons under a disability, and misuse of credit cards. Williams was convicted of the counts in December.
Russo defended his decision to tape Williams’s mouth shut, saying that he intended to maintain control over his court.
“I will say knowing Mr. Williams due to my handling of his four cases, Mr. Williams was someone who liked to speak. To speak and interrupt. When lawyers were talking, witnesses were talking. More importantly when I was talking,” Russo said.
“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,” the Cuyahoga County judge added.
This is Williams’s second trial for the same case. In the first trial, he pleaded guilty and received a 14-year prison sentence. But a judge granted Williams an appeal when the court ruled he was misinformed about his eligibility for release.