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‘Freedom of Speech’: Franklyn Williams, Whose Mouth Was Duct Taped Shut by Judge, Has More to Say


The man who went viral for his court outburst in Ohio did it again. Franklyn Williams, known for having his mouth taped shut last week, had one more thing to say before being led out of court Monday.

“Freedom of speech. No duct tape,” he said. “Freedom of Speech. No duct tape. With the hashtag.”

Jump to the last 45 seconds in the video above to see it.

Williams definitively pissed off the judge last week for talking out in court again and again. He didn’t stop in spite of being told he’ll have his turn to speak.

“Mr. Williams, I’m the judge in the matter,” said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Russo. “Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?”

Deputies ended up taping up Williams’ mouth with red tape. Footage caught attention from a lot of media outlets, including ours.

And with attention came blowback.

“I’ve been doing criminal law my entire career and I am troubled by the Judge’s actions. Unacceptable,” said criminal defense lawyer and Law&Crime Network Analyst Julie Rendelman. “I’ve never seen such a thing.”

He could’ve been removed from court until he calmed down, she said. “But to put tape over his mouth?”

Elizabeth Bonham, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, also blasted the move.

“Everything about this is wrong,” she said.

This time, though, authorities didn’t seem to pay Williams much mind, and he was led out of the courtroom without incident, as it was the end of the hearing.

He was in court again Monday to discuss issues surrounding his 24-year sentence in an armed robbery case. Russo said that Williams made 60 interruptions in 54 minutes. He argued that precedent allowed for the gagging of a defendant to “keep order in the court,” but he apologized, saying his decision might’ve eroded trust in the bench.

Russo offered to recuse himself from the case, but the defense actually opposed this. A defense lawyer cast doubt on whether the defendant is competent to face court, and said Williams had an “inability” to communicate with his attorneys as recent as Monday.

[Screengrab via Fox 8]

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