U.S. Deputy Marshal Kara Kinney flouted South Dakota’s federal court rules on coronavirus safety last spring. Now has demonstrated more contempt for Judge Charles Kornmann’s court by violating the ban on cell phones in the courtroom. Judge Kornmann is understandably torqued:
Judge Charles Kornmann has filed an order fining deputy Kara Kinney $2,000 for using her cellphone in court.
…The latest conflict stems from a rule banning electronics in the Aberdeen courtroom. According to signs posted in the building, the rule is supposed to be enforced by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Kornmann says during a hearing last week, Kinney was using her phone and quote “had her head down, paying no attention to the prisoner or the court proceedings.”
The document filed by Kornmann says he stopped the hearing, she didn’t apologize and said she was quote “multitasking” with her supervisor [Anna Peters, “U.S. Marshal, Federal Judge Clash in Court, Again,” KELO-TV, 2022.02.21].
“Multitasking” belongs in mock-quotes, as we all know there is no such thing as “multitasking”—there’s only trying to do many things at once and doing them all badly.
Kinney’s $2,000 fine for distracted deputying in court is double the fine Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had to pay for distracted driving that killed a man.
Argus Leader reporter Jonathan Ellis says Kornmann, age 85, “continues to make a compelling case for a mandatory retirement age in the federal judiciary.” I suggest the fine makes a compelling case for following courtroom rules:
“So-called security officers should not be reading papers or using electronic devices in courtrooms,” Kornmann said in the order. “They should have their heads up and their ears open. Thus, whether or not a deputy marshal may have been authorized to possess a ‘turned on’ cellphone in the courtroom, it is a serious matter for the deputy to be on the phone and not paying attention in the courtroom during a court hearing” [Elisa Sand, “U.S. Deputy Marshal Fined $2,000 for Using Cellphone in Aberdeen Federal Courtroom,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.02.22].
Once again, a U.S. Marshal shows up in Judge Kornmann’s courtroom and refuses to take her obligation to public safety seriously. If anyone needs to retire from working at the federal courthouse, it’s the deputy, not the judge.