MANKATO -- A public defender was ordered out of a Blue Earth County courtroom Thursday afternoon after screaming at a judge.
Thomas G. Dunnwald was in court representing accused gang leader Cedric Lamont Berry (right) on 10 felony charges of drug sales and racketeering.
Also arrested in the case back in November were 19-year-old Devon Crumble, 28-year-old Richard Gordon, and 24-year-old Armond Smith. A fifth suspect, 29-year-old Steven Curtin Johnson, remains at large.
Things didn't go well for Dunnwald from the beginning.
Judge Kurt Johnson showed signs of irritation when Dunnwald indicated he wasn't prepared to proceed with the contested omnibus hearing.
Then Dunnwald committed the cardinal sin in a courtroom.
His cell phone started ringing in his jacket pocket.
Dunnwald strugged to turn the phone off while Judge Johnson gave him a stern glare over his glasses.
The hearing was supposed to address defense issues surronding evidence, and Dunnwald quickly showed his frustration over his allegations that the prosecution was not providing evidence in a timely manner.
In particular, Dunnwald wanted a copy of the recorded statement Berry gave last December when he was arrested in Hennepin County on a Blue Earth County warrant.
Prosecutor Chris Rovney explained to the judge that the recording in question was in poor quality and was hard to understand because Berry is "a mumbler." Rovney told Judge Kurt Johnson that they were hoping the BCA could clean up the audio so it was clear, but that would take four months to complete.
At that point Dunnwald lost it.
Dunnwald rose from his chair and screamed "This is utter crap!"
Judge Johnson raised his voice, saying "Mr. Dunwald, sit down or I'll have you removed."
Dunnwald yelled back that he would remove himself.
But before he removed himself, Judge Johnson shot back "Get out of my courtroom."
As his attorney walked out of the room, Berry leaned back in his chair and gave a visable sigh.
Johnson order Rovney to get the audio recording to Dunnwald ASAP in its current condition.
Johnson also scolded Rovney, telling him to find a way to get along with Dunnwald.
During an earlier hearing this month, Rovney and Dunnwald clashed. Dunnwald wanted Berry released from jail, saying prosecutors were not providing him with discovery material in a timely matter.
Rovney declined to discuss the outburst, telling reporters in the courtroom they could use their own observations.
A calmer Dunnwald left the courthouse and also declined comment on his behavior.
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