UPDATE: Man Jailed For Yawning Released

An Illinois judge has freed a man who had been in jail for three weeks after letting loose a loud yawn during a sentencing hearing.

Thirty-three-year-old Clifton Williams of Richton Park was found in contempt of court and jailed on July 23 after yawning in Will County Judge Daniel Rozak's court. He could have been jailed for six months.

Williams was in court for his cousin's sentencing on a drug charge. A prosecutor in court at the time described the offending yawn as "loud and boisterous."

As Williams stood before the bench in shackles on Thursday, the judge gave him a short lecture. He told Williams he wasn't in custody for simply yawning but for making a sound "that was offensive to the court."

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Drowsy spectators in one suburban Chicago courtroom might want to stifle their yawns from now on.

A 33-year-old Richton Park man is facing six months in jail for yawning in Will County Judge Daniel Rozak's court last month.

The disturbance happened as Clifton Williams' cousin, Jason Mayfield, was being sentenced for a drug charge on July 23.

A prosecutor who was in the courtroom described the offending yawn as "a very loud, boisterous" attempt to disrupt the proceedings.

But Mayfield disagreed, saying it was "not an outrageous yawn."

Rozak found Williams in contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in jail. However, Rozak could free Williams after a status hearing Thursday, if he apologizes and the judge accepts. By then, Williams will have served 21 days.

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  • by A1 on Aug 14, 2009 at 07:30 AM
    The judge abused his power in jailing this man in the first place. I don't believe the judge ever considered the backlash of his actions. I'm glad his pettiness and how it was an abuse of authority did not go unnoticed.
  • by tug Location: New Bern on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM
    Let me guess, they turned loose a drug dealer to make room for a yawner in prison. There is another way, called show him the door.
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Aug 12, 2009 at 08:10 AM
    This judge has GUTS! Good for you. Something so simple as a "yawn" has proven the point about "authority" and governing the house rules. Way to go, judge!

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