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Judge speaks out after ordering man's mouth taped shut during sentencing

04 August 2018

OH judge John Russo ordered court deputies to shut the mouth of defendant Franklyn Williams during his sentencing hearing at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday. Williams complained about authorities removing his possessions from his cell, and just meeting his attorney "the other day", but Russo said this was brought up at the wrong time.

In the end, Williams, who was convicted of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability, was handed a 24-year prison sentence. Judge Russo defended the decision to Fox 8.

Williams had previously been sentenced to 14 years for the crimes after pleading guilty, but won an appeal when a jury found he had been misinformed about his possible early release date.

"So my intent today was never to silence Mr Williams. Shut your mouth and I'll tell you when you can talk".

In the video below, the two go back and forth with Williams' questioning factors in the case."You're trying to take my life away, judge, and you're not letting me tell you what's going on", said Williams with Judge Russo threatening him with a gag order.

"At this point I'm going to hear from your lawyers and that means zip it. that means zip it right now. does that make sense?" the judge asked Williams.

'Zip it, until I give you the chance to talk'. "I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time".

Six officers surround Williams with one issuing a threat before putting the tape on his mouth.

When the outbursts continued, Russo ordered officers to use tape to close Williams' mouth for the rest of the hearing. The court continued with his trial without him.

Williams was involved in the second trial regarding robbery charges. As Williams was in contempt of court, Russo was well within his legal rights to order Williams to be gagged in the courtroom.

Judge speaks out after ordering man's mouth taped shut during sentencing