CHICAGO (CN) – A 33-year-old man was sentenced to 6 months in jail for yawning. Clifton Williams yawned in the Will County Courthouse in Joliet while his cousin was being sentenced in a drug case. Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak gave Williams 6 months in jail for the yawn – the maximum penalty for criminal contempt without a trial.
Williams will have to spend at least 21 days in jail. Judge Rozak sentenced Williams’ cousin to 2 years probation,
Chuck Pelkie, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, told the Chicago Tribune, “It was not a simple yawn – it was a loud and boisterous attempt to disrupt the proceedings.”
A Chicago Tribune review of the past decade’s contempt-of-court charges showed that Rozak is strict in his court. Of the 30 judges in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, Rozak brought more than one-third of the circuit’s contempt charges since 1999, the Tribune reported. Typically the charges were brought against people whose cell phones went off or who screamed or shouted profanity during sentencing.