A Man’s Yawn Lands Him In Jail

August 13, 2009
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An Illinois man let out a loud yawn in the courtroom, now he faces six months in jail. Don’t believe it? Read about the yawn, and see photos and video here.

clifton williams

Clifton Williams was present for his cousin’s sentencing hearing at the Will County Court in Joilet, Illinois on July 23rd. Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak was in the process of declaring the sentence when Williams let out what a prosecutor in attendance called “a very loud, boisterous” yawn, which he said was an “attempt to disrupt the proceedings.”

Did he at least cover his mouth?

Either way, the judge wasn’t amused, and sentenced Williams to six months in jail for criminal contempt of court.

Judge Rozak is apparently not shy about handing out contempt charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that he doled out more than 33% of all such charges in the 12th Judicial Court over the last decade. Others who have been charged included individuals whose cell phones rang during proceedings, and people who have audibly cursed while attending sentencing hearings.

After serving the mandatory minimum of 21 days in jail, Clifton Williams could apologize to the judge and be released—if the apology is accepted. His chance will come this Thursday.

For his sake, we hope he is well rested when he returns to Judge Rozak’s Courtroom.

What do you think? Did the judge go way overboard by sending him to jail? Or is this finally an example of someone putting their foot down for common etiquette? Let us hear your opinion in the comments section below.

See more photos and video below.

clifton williams

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129 Responses to “A Man’s Yawn Lands Him In Jail”

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  1. 91
    DJ Says:

    If you act like a animal you get treated like a animal..
    If you want to be respected first you have to give respect……………..


  2. 92
    DJ Says:


  3. 93
    art Says:

    sack the moronic judge…egomaniac…! This is blatant abuse of power…yawning is a human and animal function…

  4. 94
    sandy Says:

    just image if man was God.I hope he will be really answer to the real judge

  5. 95
    Char Kway Says:

    He has the authority in the courtroom and i were a cop , i would arrest him if he yawns in the streets

  6. 96
    JMS Says:

    Adam Cohen, spoken like a true country man. I am not an American but we deal with the same BS in Canada, just not quite to this extent I don’t think. But it is and has been time for a LONG time that our justice systems and our governmental body get a wake up call from “we the people” After all, it IS our money that is paying their salaries (That are far higher then the majority of ours I might add). Collectively, it’s time people stand up and let these pricks know exactly how far WE will let them take it. We have the ability to voice our opinions, to poll our peoples on real matters that are important to us as individuals through the global network that is the world wide web.

  7. 97
    Guillermo Says:

    This is just another example of Judges thinking they have the right to do what ever they want because there is no consequences to them. We The People have to stand up against this kind of treatment. The man although may have been rude, deserved a warning. There is NO LAW that states yawning is a crime. Contempt of court is way to vague and leaves it upto the Judge….It’s BU– Sh–!!!!

  8. 98
    melolagnia Says:

    I’m pretty sure that guy yawned with unnecessary exaggeration but that judge seems to be abusing his power.

    6 months? REally? Come on…

    Sending a message isn’t worth the tax dollars to incarcerate a citizen for being a moron.

  9. 99
    zak Says:

    maybe not racist, but id say it was a bit harsh. the yawner should have probably covered his mouth when yawning, if it wasnt intentional, but otherwise just send him out the court. i mean u get people who rob stores who go to jail for shorter times than 6 months, so why should someone who yawned in a court do that time.

  10. 100
    judge day will come Says:

    This what taxpayer waste thier money dumbs ass judges like that he should lose his job

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