Florida judge duct tapes vociferous murderer's mouth
MIAMI, Jan 26 (AFP) - A Florida judge reportedly issued his own version of a gag order when he had officers duct tape the mouth of an angry murderer who had been hurling abuse at him.
It took six prison officers clad in body armour and helmets to place the duct tape on the mouth of the defendant, who had earlier tried to bite bailiffs who intended to carry out the judge's orders, the Saint Petersburg Times reported.
Convicted murderer Emory Carter was brought in the Largo, Florida courtroom in a "restraint chair", which a prisons officer said is slightly less severe than the one used on violent psychopath Hannibal Lecter in the movie "The Silence of the Lambs."
"Everything was done properly," said Largo Judge Brandt Downey, who had repeatedly endured verbal abuse, including four-letter expletives, during the trial in which Carter represented himself.
Downey sentenced the convicted murderer to life in prison last month, but had Carter brought back to the court on Monday, after he realized he had forgotten to ask him if he wanted an attorney for the sentencing.
"I only needed to ask him one question, so I said "Duct tape his mouth,' " the Saint Petersburg Times quoted the judge as saying.
Asked if he wanted an attorney, Carter shook his head side to side and offered a muffled "uh-uh" sound.
Downey said it was the first time he has ordered a defendant's mouth taped, though he knows others have done it. Years ago, a Florida judge ordered bailiffs to stuff a sanitary napkin in an inmate's mouth and seal it with tape, according to Public Defender Bob Dillinger.