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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.


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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14 thoughts on “Cleveland Defendant Is Silenced With Duct Tape At Hearing

  1. Amber on said:

    Sorry but I do not feel for this guy. First, you did alot of crimes on the book and then you come to court and behave like someone did you wrong. SHUT UP until you are allowed to speak. To disrespect a judge is viewed that you will disrespect ANYONE. That is why you respect the court. You will NOT will not win let alone you committed crimes. Even if the judge does something stupid and bias, SHUT UP until you have the time to state your case.

  2. Christianforreal on said:

    Can you imagine how long they’d have been in that court room, continually violating that man’s HIPPO Laws if the judge hadn’t gagged him? Lol! The only other alternative was to remove him fro the courtroom. I can’t say I wouldn’t have been humiliated having the same done to me, but I would have kept my mouth closed and allowed others to speak, specifically my lawyer. I believe the judge was well within his authority and I do not believe that race had a thing to do with it.

  3. Actually, its HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). But, he needs to learn when its his turn to speak & be silent until that time. Also, why piss of a judge who is about to determine your fate. SMH

  4. When he said they were violating his HIPPO law…I was like what??? first of all its HIPPA and that is the medical privacy law for patients and medical institutes like between hospital and doctors. What was he just gabbing about??? Just shut up!!

  5. tasia on said:

    The problem is that this only happens to people of color. WE MUST UNITE! The white people fear us & that’s why they’re trying to separate and kill us. DO NOT be afraid as we are Kings and Queens. Stand strong! Stand together! #BLACKAMERICA

    • Amber on said:

      Even at this, this guy know the system can be unfair YRET he ROBBED others (and you can believe some of his victims were blacks as well) and the go to court and start talking out of place. I am for our causes even when the system is wrong but this is not one I will make a fuss over. If he was falsely accused, I could understand but he was not falsely accused and his disrespecting the judge.

  6. americanize on said:

    I don,t condone breaking these white folks laws,once you do that rights are out the window.A black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect.Its still on the books.

  7. This ignorant POS had no respect for the Court of Judge.
    I do not blame the judge for instituting the so called, “GAG” order to make him STFU.

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