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Canton judge orders silence in the court WITH DUCT TAPE
The Canton Repository ^ | Last update Sep 01, 2009 @ 09:37 AM | By Shane Hoover

Posted on 09/01/2009 7:52:51 AM PDT by ResistorSister

CANTON — Municipal Court Judge Stephen F. Belden had an unconventional tool for silencing an argumentative defendant last week — duct tape.

(Click on the Audio Tab at left: Listen to Judge Belden's order to duct tape the defendant's mouth in court)- You will have to go to the link to hear this.

The unique confrontation played out in Municipal Court on Thursday and quickly became a topic of courthouse gossip. It was also recorded on the courtroom’s audio and video systems.

Belden was holding a preliminary hearing to see if there was sufficient evidence for Harry Brown’s case to be reviewed by a county grand jury.

Charged with robbery and obstructing official business, Brown, 51, of 529 Clarendon Ave. NW, is accused of fighting with Wal-Mart security officers who said they were trying to keep him from shoplifting at the Tuscarawas Street W store Aug. 20.

At the start of the hearing, Brown told Belden that he wasn’t happy with his public defender, who he claimed hadn’t done enough work on the case.

Belden said he wasn’t going to appoint a different attorney. If Brown didn’t want the public defender, he could represent himself, although he would be a fool to do so, the judge said.

Harry Brown (left) and Municipal Court Judge Stephen F. Belden. Judge Belden ordered Brown’s mouth to be tapped shut with duct tape in court after the defendant argued with him repeatedly after being ordered to be quiet. Charged with robbery and obstructing official business, Brown, 51, is accused of fighting with Wal-Mart security officers who said they were trying to keep him from shoplifting at the Tuscarawas Street W. store Aug. 20
Harry Brown (left) and Municipal Court Judge Stephen F.
Belden. Judge Belden ordered Brown’s mouth to be tapped
shut with duct tape in court after the defendant argued
with him repeatedly after being ordered to be quiet

Brown and Belden went back and forth for about four minutes, at times talking over each other, until Belden told his bailiff, Jeffrey Smith, to get the duct tape.

“I’m gonna get some duct tape. If you keep interrupting me, I’m gonna have Mr. Smith put it over your mouth, OK?”

Brown said he would go back to the holding area for prisoners.

“No, you can’t go back there and sit. You’re staying right here,” Belden said.

Brown kept talking.

“All right, duct tape. Duct tape the defendant,” Belden said.

A SECOND CHANCE

With Brown muzzled, Belden told the public defender to sit in the audience, then ran the hearing.

After the police officer answered the prosecutor’s questions, Belden told his bailiff to remove the tape and asked Brown if he had any questions for the witness.

“We’ll put some more (tape) back on if you decide to, uh, go back to your former, uh, disrespectful ways,” the judge said.

“I’m not being disrespectful, Your Honor,” Brown said. “I think you’re being more disrespectful to me, as, you know ...”

He never got to ask a question, as the argument restarted.

“OK, that’s it, that’s it. Prelim is over. You’re bound over. I find probable cause. You can go back, down in the basement ...,” Belden said.

“I want to ask him some questions...”

“Yoooooouuuuuuu ... go ahead, take him away,” Belden said.

On the way out the door, Brown uttered obscenities.

“OK, you can get 30 more days on top of whatever you get, for contempt,” Belden told him.

THE RIGHT CALL?

Court Administrator Michael Kochera said he doesn’t know of any other time when duct tape was used to silence a defendant in Municipal Court.

“When the judge orders any of the bailiffs to do something, we follow the orders,” said Smith, the bailiff.

Brown wants to file a complaint with the Supreme Court of Ohio and says his rights were violated.

“It was unethical. He didn’t have to do that,” Brown said Monday by phone from the Stark County Jail.

The duct tape covered his mouth, and when the bailiff peeled it off, it pulled out some of his mustache hairs, Brown said.

A spokesman for the Supreme Court of Ohio declined to comment on the issue.

The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct says judges have to keep order in the courtroom. It also requires them to “be patient, dignified and courteous.”

Belden said he felt taping Brown’s mouth was the best way to restore order.

“You have somebody who’s disruptive, you have to make a decision on the spot how to handle it,” he said.

It was the first time in 12 years on the bench that Belden has ordered a defendant’s mouth to be taped. He said he learned of the technique from an out-of-state judge while they were attending a training seminar.

Aside from taping defendants’ mouths, judges in Municipal Court can try to reason with them, postpone the hearing, place them behind a glass window next to the courtroom or put them in a holding area where they can listen to the hearing but can’t participate, Belden said.

“I hope to never have to do it again,” he said of using duct tape. “It’s not something I get any enjoyment out of.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Ohio
KEYWORDS: canton; court; ohio; stfu
Stark County Ohio adds another item to the "curiosity jar" that is our community.
1 posted on 09/01/2009 7:52:51 AM PDT by ResistorSister
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To: ResistorSister
Silence is Golden.

Duct Tape is Silver.

2 posted on 09/01/2009 7:55:54 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: ResistorSister

I have a commemorative roll of Presidential Duct Tape that I’d like to use on a certain jOker.


3 posted on 09/01/2009 7:57:10 AM PDT by kromike
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To: ResistorSister

Somebody needs to contact AG Holder. I think this might fall under the “New” definition of Torture Law.


4 posted on 09/01/2009 7:57:24 AM PDT by Falcon4.0
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To: martin_fierro
Silence is Golden.

Duct Tape is Silver.

Good one!

5 posted on 09/01/2009 7:57:35 AM PDT by Dinah Lord
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To: martin_fierro
Brilliant observation!
6 posted on 09/01/2009 7:59:02 AM PDT by ResistorSister
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To: ResistorSister
Photobucket
7 posted on 09/01/2009 8:03:09 AM PDT by niteowl77 (You wanted him, and now you have got him. I say, "Good day to you," America.)
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To: martin_fierro
And this judge has Brass Balls!
8 posted on 09/01/2009 8:03:57 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: ResistorSister

Look for the “Racist!” tag to fly in 5...4...3...2...1...


9 posted on 09/01/2009 8:04:44 AM PDT by kromike
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To: ResistorSister

Well, at least he didn’t have underwear put on his head.


10 posted on 09/01/2009 8:06:38 AM PDT by T Minus Four (Don't be caught dead without Jesus!)
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To: ResistorSister

Don’t tape me, bro!


11 posted on 09/01/2009 8:25:05 AM PDT by GQuagmire
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To: ResistorSister

Eric Holder ain’t gonna like this.


12 posted on 09/01/2009 8:29:14 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: ResistorSister



13 posted on 09/01/2009 8:44:49 AM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: ResistorSister

I don’t know what occurred in that court room since I was Not there but it sure seems to me that the judge committed an act of judicial misconduct.


14 posted on 09/01/2009 8:45:38 AM PDT by puppypusher (The world is going to the Dogs.)
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[quote]“When the judge orders any of the bailiffs to do something, we follow the orders,” said Smith, the bailiff.[/quote]

While I don’t know if placing duct tape on his mouth was truly merited, I am a little concerned about the bailiff’s response. It sounds very Third Reichish.


15 posted on 09/01/2009 9:04:20 AM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

Good thing the judge didn’t order him to shoot the guy.


16 posted on 09/01/2009 9:06:40 AM PDT by nufsed (Release the birth certificate, passport, and school records.)
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To: ResistorSister

I don’t know that I’d normally recommend that...but it is effective as a last resort.

I’m still waiting to hear about some judge with a taste for old Cheech and Chong telling his bailiff to whack the defendant’s pee-pee.


17 posted on 09/01/2009 9:11:42 AM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: RichInOC

Yeah, back in 1972 or 73 that Cheech and Chong bit was funny.


18 posted on 09/01/2009 9:36:05 AM PDT by ResistorSister
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To: Arkansas Toothpick
It sounds very Third Reichish.

They are ahead of the curve!

19 posted on 09/01/2009 9:38:11 AM PDT by ResistorSister
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To: puppypusher
... it sure seems to me that the judge committed an act of judicial misconduct.

Time will tell.

20 posted on 09/01/2009 9:39:29 AM PDT by ResistorSister
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