Cleveland judge orders inmate's mouth taped shut in courtroom

Ohio judge orders chatty defendant's mouth taped for sentencing

An Ohio judge became so frustrated with a defendant speaking in court that he ordered police to keep him quiet - by ripping off a piece of red tape and putting it over his mouth in Cuyahoga County, Ohio., Tuesday.

Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison for agravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability.

After about a dozen warnings, Russo grew exhausted of the back-and-forth with Williams. Williams reportedly even interrupted his own attorneys. When Williams continued to speak, the judge instructed deputies to put another piece of tape over his mouth.

A judge ordered tape to be placed over the mouth of a defendant - and it was.

"But you're not letting me tell you what's going on", Williams says. He pleaded guilty the first time around, and was sentenced to 14 year behind bars, but won an appeal after a court determined he received inaccurate information about his eligibility for release.

A retrial was then stalled after Williams cut his ankle tag and fled to Nebraska before being rearrested and sent back to court. "My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams", Russo told the station. "I am going to give you a chance to talk", Russo added, before warning the defendant: "If I have to, I will gag you in one second". "Do you understand what it means to, 'Don't talk?' Don't talk".

After warning Williams multiple times, Judge John Russo made a decision to take action, reported Fox 8.

In the 1970 case IL v. Allen, the justices unanimously decided that defendants do not have an absolute right to even be present at their trial, let alone speak at it.

Williams is angry his lawyer didn't do more to speak up for him.

The 32-year-old complained about authorities removing his possessions from his cell, and only meeting his attorney "the other day" - complaints Judge Russo said were raised at the wrong time.

Russo later defended his order, telling Fox8 he knew Williams was "someone who liked to speak", and that he gave him more than a dozen warnings to stop talking. "That's what I was trying to tell them", Williams said. The court continued with his trial without him.

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