Friday, January 6, 2012

Judge has unruly defendant's mouth taped shut

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man had his mouth taped shut by sheriff's deputies after repeatedly disrupting a court hearing by saying his free speech rights were being violated.

A Cambria County judge ordered Erik Britt's mouth taped shut Thursday after he repeatedly disrupted jury selection for his trial on charges he assaulted a prison guard.

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown ( ) reports the judge eventually stopped the hearing because Britt continued to be unruly even after being gagged and having his hands cuffed to his waist.

Britt was acting as his own attorney when he repeatedly complained of racism and ignored the judge's warnings to be quiet. 

A deputy eventually covered Britt's mouth with tape, but he kept making noise.

Judge Timothy Creany ordered Britt to undergo a mental health evaluation.

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