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Opinion | People Irate Over Why Ohio Judge Ordered Red Tape On Man’s Mouth – Do You Support This?

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A Cuyahoga County judge is finding himself in hot water for his unusual methods of handling defendant who refused to be silent in his courtroom recently drew national attention. Judge John Russo ordered a convicted robber to have his mouth taped shut during a sentencing hearing in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday sparking outrage.

32-year-old Franklyn Williams was convicted of three armed robberies, misusing credit cards and more in the suburbs of Cleveland. Throughout his sentencing, Williams refused to stop talking despite being warned more than a dozen times over the course of a mere 30 minute period. Since Williams refused to silence himself in the courtroom, interrupting the judge and even his own attorneys, Judge Russo ordered Williams’ mouth to be taped shut by six deputies.

SCREENSHOT: FOX 8

Even after the red tape was applied across Williams’ mouth, he persisted in his attempts to continue speaking. Fed up with Williams’ refusal to comply with even this most basic of requests,  Judge Russo angrily stated, “Mr. Williams, I’m the judge of the matter, shut your mouth, and I’ll tell you when you can talk!”

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Williams’ replied – “You tryna take my life, and you not letting me tell you what’s going on.”

In response, Judge Russo then instructed more pieces of tape be put over Williams’ mouth so court proceedings could continue unimpeded.

According to Clevescene.com – “After Russo ordered the tape to be placed on his mouth, a deputy can be heard saying, ‘If you spit on, attempt to bite or injure any of my deputies, you’re going to have a bad day.’

‘Just put the tape on me man and get it over with,’ Williams said. As Williams was in contempt of court, Russo was well within his legal rights to order Williams to be gagged in the courtroom.”

Judge Russo defended the decision to Fox 8 stating – “I will say knowing Mr. Williams due to my handling of his four cases, Mr. Williams was someone who liked to speak. To speak and interrupt. When lawyers were talking, witnesses were talking. More importantly when I was talking,” said Judge Russo.

Judge Russo says he gave Williams more than a dozen warnings to stop talking over the course of 30 minutes, but Williams refused.

In fact, he even interrupted his own attorney.

“Everybody has the right to go on the record with my court reporter. But we can’t do it at the same time or yelling over each other. My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams,” said Judge Russo.

But Judge Russo says he was forced to extreme measures to keep a clear record and maintain courtroom decorum.

“I gave him an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time. More than not, he continued to speak over me and others in the courtroom,” said Judge Russo.”

Williams was eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison by Judge Russo.

“Williams was convicted in December 2017 on three counts of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and having weapons under a disability, according to court documents. While his trial began late in 2017, Williams was present for the opening arguments but as the trial progressed unexpected delays occurred when Williams chose to cut his ankle bracelet and fled to Nebraska. While in Nebraska, Williams attempted to claim amnesia, stating he was hit over the head and subsequently lost his memory.

However, prosecutors played phone calls Williams made to his family in court on Tuesday proving there was no amnesia and he remembered everything. Additional information was also recovered from Williams’ phone demonstrating Williams was attempting to research how he could potentially beat the criminal charges levied against him.

This was actually Williams’ second trial stemming from the original charges. He was found guilty at the first trial and sentenced to up to 14 years in prison, however, he was granted an appeal on a technicality after it was determined he was misinformed about when he would be might eligible for early release from prison.

Despite all of the opportunities Williams was given and the fact Williams was clearly in contempt of court, as well as Judge Russo’s right to have him gagged due to Williams’ refusal to cease speaking when told to do so, outrage, accusations of railroading, and cries of racism swiftly followed.

One man posted on Instagram stating – “In slavery news, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Russo sentenced 32-year-old Franklyn Williams to 24 years in prison on Tuesday for his role in three armed robberies, but not before he asked his deputies to tape Williams’s mouth shut.
Williams reportedly would not stop talking when Russo warned him to stop more than a dozen times over 30 minutes. The suspect allegedly interrupted his attorneys as well as the judge because he said didn’t know the court appointed attorney. Looks like he recognized he was being railroaded and wanted to at least go down fighting. #30yearsofControversy”

Another woman claimed gagging Williams in court was a “human rights violation.”

Another man claimed Judge Russo’s actions almost brought him to tears while claiming “human rights are starting to become a mere memory.”

It seems Williams’ history of violence and complete disregard for the law are not on trial in the court of public opinion, nor is Williams complete lack of respect for the court or his refusal to heed multiple warnings to cease to speak. Instead, Judge Russo has been convicted in trial by social media, where facts are neither relevant nor do they matter.

Note From the Editor: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website or of the owners/administrators of where this article is shared online. Claims made in this piece are based on the author's own opinion and not stated as evidence or fact.

 

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Mueller Begs McConnell For Protection Bill – He Responds With Something Better

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Washington Times

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly rejected the need to approve legislation protecting the special counsel’s probe into the 2016 election, saying Wednesday there’s no evidence the investigation needs protection.

Mr. McConnell laid out Republicans’ goals for the lame-duck session of Congress, saying preventing a government shutdown is tops on the list, along with passing new rules to stop sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and approving a farm bill.

He flatly ruled out the chance of a partial government shutdown over border wall money and other spending fights.

And he dismissed the need for Congress to act on legislation Democrats and some Republicans want to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I don’t think any legislation’s necessary,” Mr. McConnell said.

He said he speaks regularly with President Trump and while the president has made his distaste for the investigation clear, he’s never given an “indication” that he would attempt to shut down the probe.

Mr. McConnell said for his part he believes the investigation should be allowed to finish.

Democrats said they’re intent on getting Mueller protections approved during this lame-duck session of Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that those provisions, if they don’t pass as a stand-alone bill, need to be part of the year-end spending bill.

And Mr. Schumer drew lines over other parts of the spending bill, saying it should not go above the current $1.6 billion senators have included for new border security such as a wall.

Mr. Trump has demanded it include at least $5 billion in funding for his border wall. The House has passed a bill with that number, putting it on a crash course with senators.

Mr. Schumer said Congress should compromise by agreeing on the Senate’s number, and he told Mr. Trump to butt out of any negotiations.

“Every time he interferes, it gets bolluxed up,” the New York Democrat said.

Mr. Schumer also took a victory lap on last week’s election results, which saw his caucus likely lose one or two seats. The senator said that was still a victory for Democrats because it could have been much worse for them.

And he said voters sent a signal of support for Democrats’ policy ideas, which he said they’ll pursue even while in the minority in the Senate.

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Elected Republican Majority Whip Just Announced – Will Shake Up The Senate

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Daily Caller

South Dakota Sen. John Thune was elected to serve as the Republican Majority Whip Wednesday.

Thune was nominated by former whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn. This comes as Cornyn met his three-term limit in the position. The majority whip is the second-ranking position in Senate leadership.

Republicans voted for other leadership positions Wednesday, making Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt the Policy Committee chairman, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst was voted in as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference and Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso will serve as Senate Republican Conference chairman, according to The Hill.

Senator John Thune speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Barrasso listens during a media briefing on Capitol Hill. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Thune has served as chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee since 2015. He will now have to step down as chairman, after taking his new job as majority whip.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Cornyn Wednesday, giving him a Louisville slugger baseball bat with “To John Cornyn – The Best Whip Ever,” written on it.

Meanwhile, The Hill has more on Joni Ernst elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference:

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has been elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, becoming the first woman to be elected to a Senate GOP leadership position since 2010.

Ernst, a veteran of the Iraq War who served a total of 23 years in the military, is considered a rising star among her colleagues.

She defeated Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) in the only contested Senate Republican leadership race after months of quiet campaigning in the conference.

Senate Republicans saw Ernst as someone who might be a better communicator for the conference on television, while Fischer garnered praise as someone who worked diligently behind the scenes to build relationships with members of GOP leadership.

Ernst emerged as the winner after Senate Republicans met in the Old Senate Chamber on Wednesday morning to vote on the new leadership team for the 116th Congress.

McConnell was reelected as Senate majority leader, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was elected as majority whip, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) was elected as Senate Republican Conference chairman and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was elected as Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman.

Ernst burst onto the national scene in 2014 with an ad recounting her upbringing on a farm where she castrated hogs and pledging that she would “make ‘em squeal” in Washington by cutting pork.

Senate Republicans say McConnell has been eager to add a woman to his elected leadership team after he came under criticism in 2017 for not appointing a woman to a special health-care working group he created.

A woman has not served as a member of the elected Senate GOP leadership since 2010, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stepped down as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference after losing her primary race to conservative challenger Joe Miller.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 2007 to 2009, the highest-ranking position a woman has held in the Senate GOP leadership since Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) chaired the Senate Republican Conference in the early 1970s.

Fischer and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) already serve as informal counselors on McConnell’s leadership team.

Senate Republicans also came under scrutiny during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings over the all-male GOP membership of the Judiciary Committee.

McConnell says one of his priorities is to recruit more women to the Judiciary panel.

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