Illinois Judge Sentences Man to Six Months in Jail for Yawning Loudly in Court

1249939144314.JPEGCircuit Judge Daniel Rozak obviously does not like yawning in the courtroom. He sentenced Clifton Williams to six months in jail after he let out a loud yawn when his cousin was being sentenced on a felony drug charge. The cousin actually received probation.

The incident occurred in the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.
The judge (and the prosecutor) believed that the yawn was an intentional effort to disrupt the proceedings. However, the Tribune has found that Rozak routinely jails people for everything from cellphone calls to speaking loudly. Indeed, of the 30 judges in the 12th Judicial Circuit, he is responsible for one-third of the contempt charges.

I am very sympathetic to the judge’s effort to respond to disruptions and this may have been a rather transparent effort to interrupt the proceedings or mock the court. However, six months is a ridiculous sentence and Rozak is clearly too-quick-on-the-trigger with contempt sanctions.

I am also curious how Rozak can eliminate the possibility of an involuntary yawn as a matter of intent. There is a big difference between shouting in a courtroom — which is clearly voluntary — and a yawn that (while suspicious) could be innocent.

He is not alone in such excessive responses to courtroom misconduct, here and here and here and here.

For the full story, click here.

85 thoughts on “Illinois Judge Sentences Man to Six Months in Jail for Yawning Loudly in Court”

  1. “Mike Spindell: Watch the first video LK posted and notice his ear piece. This is a BS sensationalist story.”

    Donatella,
    Watch the man himself being interviewed by Chris Matthews in the link I posted. Wishing doesn’t make something true. Do you really think with the incredible rise in death threats to President Obama, they would do this as a publicity stunt? That seems like a fairy tale. You may not like this Administration but I’m sure you wouldn’t want it to end the way JFK’s did. As
    things are now going that is my fear. Having lived through the 60’s and the various killings, more than just JFK, RFK and MLK and loving my country, I wouldn’t want to see that again. As for the earpiece, I even have bluetooth and I can barely figure out how to operate my cell phone.

  2. Smacked down?

    roflmao

    Hello, Kitty!

    I’m betting you don’t get out of the house much.

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