LAKE COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A man’s outburst at a judge was not a reason to extend his prison sentence, according to a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling.
In a 4-3 decision the high court ruled that Manson Bryant’s profanity-laced courtroom outburst after receiving a 22-year sentence might have warranted a contempt of court finding, however, the trial judge could not increase the prison sentence by six years saying that the outburst showed “no remorse” for the crime.
Writing for the court majority, Justice Melody Stewart said that Bryant’s “in-the-moment reaction” wasn’t an indicator of whether he was remorseful or not.
”Ohio’s criminal sentencing statutes do not authorize a trial court to impose or increase a defendant’s sentence merely because the defendant had an outburst or expressed himself in a profane and offensive way,” she wrote.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote that the judge changed his mind about whether Bryant had genuine remorse after his outburst and that remorse was a mitigating factor at sentencing.
Bryant was on parole at the time of his 2018 arrest for a home invasion in Paniseville. He was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and abduction.
During sentencing, Bryant told the court that he made a lifetime of bad decisions, but having gone through the trial, he had a newfound respect for the process and the opportunity to be heard. He said he did not want to die in prison and asked the judge to give him an opportunity to make something out of his life.
After the judge read the 22-year sentence, Bryant accused the judge of being racist and preceded to yell expletives at him.
The judge told Bryant that he considered his remorse in sentencing and that he was “mistaken” and added six years to the sentence for the outburst for a total of 28 years. The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision reverts Bryant’s sentence to 22 years.