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MAHONING COURT Convict's mouth is taped shut



Published: Thu, July 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A judge found a sticky solution to a sticky problem.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Anthony McPeters couldn't say much in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after a judge ordered deputies to seal his mouth shut with duct tape.

The deputies, Charles VanDyke and Joseph Matacic, were told to stand by in Judge R. Scott Krichbaum's courtroom Wednesday afternoon. The judge sentenced McPeters, 37, of Superior Avenue to one year in prison for carrying a concealed weapon.

With sentencing complete, the deputies handcuffed McPeters in preparation for transport to the Mahoning County jail. As they led McPeters out of court, he became upset and began yelling obscenities, reports show.

Judge Krichbaum's bailiff approached the deputies and McPeters as they reached the elevator. The judge wanted the man back in court.

Judge's order

Once McPeters was back in court, the judge told the deputies to tape his mouth shut to prevent any further outbursts. The deputies moved McPeters to a hallway, found a roll of duct tape, applied it, then took him back into court.

"Mr. McPeters was able to mutter through the tape," the deputies said in their report.

Judge Krichbaum then told them to remove the tape.

McPeters had his say.

The judge then ordered him to be gagged again.

The judge found McPeters in contempt of court for his outbursts and ordered that he serve 30 days in the county jail before being transferred to the Lorain Correctional Institution to serve his one-year sentence.

Threats

The deputies' report shows that McPeters made verbal threats and would not respond to their commands to stop.

VanDyke said in his report that, during the hearing, he had to put his hand over McPeters' mouth to keep him quiet.

McPeters left a voice-mail message at The Vindicator, complaining about what happened. It was very unprofessional of the judge, he said, to order the deputies to tape his mouth.

McPeters used a vulgarity to describe the judge then hung up.

Maj. Michael Budd at the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department said defendants can be bound and gagged to prevent them from being disruptive in court.

"We obey all lawful court orders," Budd said.

Judge Krichbaum had a jury trial today and could not be reached.

Budd said silencing troublesome defendants allows the courts to function and protects defendants' right to be in court.

meade@vindy.com




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