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Ohio judge orders defendant’s mouth taped during court hearing

An Ohio judge ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut during a courtroom hearing, and a media outlet’s video caught the scene of an officer duct-taping the man’s face to silence him

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An Ohio judge ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut during a courtroom hearing, and a media outlet’s video caught the scene of an officer duct-taping the man’s face to silence him.

The incident took place earlier this week, when a judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered Franklyn Williams, 32, to remain silent during his sentencing hearing, according to CNN affiliate WJW.

Despite warnings from Judge John Russo, Williams continued to speak over the judge and his attorneys, according to the video.

The courtroom video, shot by and first aired on WJW, shows Russo repeatedly scolding Williams for talking.

“Mr. Williams,” Russo says on the video, “I’m the judge in the matter. Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?”

Russo proceeds to tell Williams that he would like to hear from the defendant’s attorneys first and then will give him a chance to speak, but Williams continues to talk.

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“You are trying to take my life, and you are not letting me tell you what’s going on,” Williams says on the video.
After several interruptions, Russo then gives him a last warning.

“Listen to me, if we have to, I will gag you … you will get a chance to talk,” Russo says. “Just zip it, you will get a chance to talk, I’m going to give you a chance to talk.”

Williams continues to talk, and Russo orders for Williams’ mouth to be taped shut, according to the video.
The video quickly caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which characterized the judge’s actions as humiliating to the defendant.

Musings From Abroad

US bans four former Malawian officials over bribery

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The United States State Department said on Wednesday that four former government officials from Malawi were not allowed to come to the US because they were involved in major crime.

“The United States stands with Malawians working towards a more just and prosperous nation by promoting accountability for corrupt officials, including advocating for transparency and integrity in government procurement processes,” department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

The people named are Reyneck Matemba, who used to be solicitor general and secretary of justice, John Suzi-Banda, who used to be director of public procurement and disposal of assets, Mwabi Kaluba, who used to be an attorney for the Malawi Police Service, and George Kainja, who used to be inspector general of the Malawi Police Service.

The State Department said that the four “abused their public positions by accepting bribes and other articles of value” from a private businessperson in exchange for a grant to work on government policy.

In the past few years, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has been fighting crime hard. In January 2022, he got rid of the whole Cabinet because three ministers were being accused of corruption.

Later that same year, Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau caught and charged Saulos Klaus Chilima, the vice president of the country, with graft. According to the group, public officers in Malawi stole money from the government by trying to change how contracts were awarded through the country’s public procurement system.

A lot of people in Malawi live on less than $2 a day, making it one of the most fragile places in the world. The population density puts it in the top 10 in Africa, even though it is a small country.

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Musings From Abroad

Again, British parliament’s upper house frustrates Rwanda migrant plan

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Rishi Sunak’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda have suffered another setback as it has been rejected again by Britain’s upper house of parliament.

The parliament suggested changes that would delay the policy, but not stop it. The prime minister hopes that this will help his party’s chances in the next election.

Ahead of general elections later this year, Sunak has put a lot of political capital into the Rwanda plan, saying that it will help him keep his promise to stop thousands of people from coming to Britain illegally in small boats.

The House of Lords, which is Britain’s unelected upper house, tried to change the new laws a third time after Monday when the House of Commons turned down its second set of plans. But the move probably won’t stop the bill from being approved this week, which means it will become law.

Sunak wants to go to Rwanda as soon as possible, but the plan could still be thrown out of court. The House of Lords agreed with four ideas. One of them was an amendment to make sure the law follows international law.

The bill returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday as Conservative members are likely to vote against the changes that are being suggested. If that didn’t happen, the upper house might decide it wasn’t possible to get elected lawmakers to make any changes and pass it.

Asylum seekers who come to Britain illegally will be sent back to their home country. This is because of a policy made two years ago that aims to stop dangerous Channel crossings in small boats and end the business model of people smugglers.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stopped the first planned removal flight in June 2022. Last year, the UK Supreme Court said the plan was illegal.

Sunak’s new law, which doesn’t follow some existing human rights laws, is meant to go against the Supreme Court’s decision by saying that British courts should treat Rwanda as a safe place to visit and that people can only appeal in very rare cases.

Nowadays, Europe is worried about people coming in illegally from Africa and the Middle East. In June 2023, a record 45,000 people had flown across the English Channel in small boats.

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