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3 U.S. Marshals Charged in COVID-19 Vaccination Dispute with Judge

A federal judge charged three members of the U.S. Marshals Service with contempt of court and obstructing justice over a dispute about COVID-19 vaccinations in South Dakota. 

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann lashed out at the supervisory law enforcement officers on Monday for allegedly permitting a deputy marshal to escort prisoners from a courtroom after refusing to disclose whether she had been vaccinated, The Washington Post reports.

The agency’s Chief of Staff John Kilgallon, South Dakota Marshal Daniel C. Mosteller, and Deputy South Dakota Marshal Stephen Houghtaling were charged in the dispute. 

“This was such an outrageous thing to do,” the judge said. “Nothing like this that we could find has ever been done in this country. If it is the marshals’ position that they can override court orders, they are badly mistaken.”

Kornmann is asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case. 

In a letter to federal officials in March, Kornmann said he expects to be informed of the vaccination status of people who work in the courthouse. 

“We are not talking about politics or conspiracy theories. We are talking about science and protecting all of us who serve the public here as well as the jurors, lawyers and parties who come to this building,” Kornmann wrote. “If you are refusing to take the vaccines, I want to know that so I can decide what further action is required on my part.”


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