Jailed Yawner Gets a Breather

Served three weeks for opening his mouth

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 1:52 PM CDT
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Clifton Williams served three weeks in jail for a "loud and boisterous" yawn.

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The man who was incarcerated for yawning in court has been released after three weeks in the clink.

The judge who sentenced Clifton Williams to six months in jail for ostensibly for yawning let the man know why he got such a big time time-out today, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center.

"I just first of all want to make it clear - you were never in custody for yawning - you never were," Will County Judge Daniel Rozak, who is known for being a hard-ass and holding people in contempt,  said. "It was a sound ... that was offensive to the court."

The offending yawn/sound occurred on July 23 as Williams' cousin, Jason Mayfield, was being sentenced for a drug charge.Rozak found Williams in contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in jail.

But witnesses disagreed about whether Williams' yawn was out of line.

Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County state's attorney's office, said the prosecutor in the courtroom at the time told him that what came out of Williams' mouth could hardly be called a "yawn."

"This was a very loud, boisterous, deliberate attempt on the part of this individual to disrupt the proceedings and show disrespect to the court," Pelkie said. "It was not a guy who involuntarily yawned. This guy was making a statement — a very loud statement — in court."

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

Now that Williams is out, he can practice covering his mouth.

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