Lafayette Judge Marilyn Castle charged criminal defense attorney Michael Gregory with misdemeanor contempt of court for filming a defendant in a case he’s not involved in having his mouth taped shut by a bailiff after she ordered him to do it.
Judge Castle decided on Friday July 18 that Gregory was in contempt of court for using his cell phone to record her ordering defendant Michael Duhon’s mouth shut after he allegedly repeatedly interrupted court proceedings in Judge Castle’s courtroom.
Castle said she didn’t want to order the courtroom bailiff to duct tape Duhon’s mouth, but was forced into giving the order and could not ignore the interruptions
“This is not a pleasurable thing to do,” she said during the hearing on Friday.
“If I were to ignore it, I would be in violation of the rules.”
The American Civil Liberties Union called the incident brutal, dehumanizing and shocking, according to KATC.
Judge Castle made the order after Duhon objected when she asked him to stop submitting motions on his own behalf and instead submit them through his attorney.
Duhon was in court to be sentenced after being found guilty this February for money laundering and theft of over 25,000, according to the Advocate.
He then objected again after evidence was submitted and Judge Castle told him to speak through his attorney after he attempted to offer arguments against its inclusion.
Castle ordered Duhon to remain quiet twice then ordered the bailiff to tape his mouth shut as witnesses testified.
“During testimony of Tanya Ortego, the Court ordered the Bailiff to tape the defendant’s mouth due to the defendant’s consistent interruption of this court proceeding and multiple instructions from the Court to remain silent.”
Court records don’t show details about how long Duhon’s mouth was taped or if he made any remarks after the duct tape was removed from his mouth.
So far, only an audio recording of the proceeding is available.
But we will update if and when a video recording of the incident becomes available.
In a similar incident in 2018, a Cincinnati judge made headlines after ordering deputies to duct tape an armed robbery defendant’s mouth shut.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John J. Russo made an apology from the bench for ordering guards to tape Franklyn Williams’ mouth shut during a court hearing, although not directly to Williams, according to Clevland.com.
“On retrospect, while there is legal precedent for gagging a defendant to keep order in a court, I apologize for taking that action last week,” he said.