In a move reminiscent of one from a famous trial, a Cleveland man was ordered to be duct taped when a judge became frustrated that he wouldn’t be quiet in court.
Bank robber Franklyn Williams, 32, was attempting to tell his version of the events during his sentencing and would not allow his attorneys to speak on his behalf. After repeatedly telling him to be quiet, a Cuyahoga county judge had had enough and ordered that Williams be duct-taped.
Watch the footage here:
The judge, John Russo, ultimately did respond to the criticism of his decision.
But the Ohio ACLU felt the decision to gag Williams was extreme.
“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,” said our staff attorney @elizabethbonham https://t.co/xsRRTkqRGg
— ACLU of Ohio (@acluohio) August 1, 2018
Williams told reporters he was “humiliated” by the duct taping. However, this was his sentencing as he’d skipped out on a trial for one of the four armed robbery cases he was accused of. Williams fled to Nebraska but said he didn’t remember anything as he’d hit his head. His cell phone proved that to be a lie.
Russo ultimately sentenced Williams to 24 years.
Still, the scene in the courtroom, for those who know the history, is similar to the infamous Chicago Seven trial. Though the trial began with eight defendants, including Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, he was not allowed to wait for his ill lawyer to heal and was refused the opportunity to represent himself.
When he tried to speak out, Judge Julius Hoffman ordered Seale bound and gagged in the courtroom until his case was separated from the others. Seale would receive a four-year sentence for contempt of court, one of the longest on the charge at the time.
Listen to an audio dramatization of Seale’s trial:
Do you think the judge was well within his rights to gag Williams or was Williams’ race a factor as well? Regardless of what Williams may have done, were his rights violated?
PHOTO: CNN Screenshot
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