PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A three-judge appeals panel has rejected a series of decisions by U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann in a high-profile criminal case.

Kornmann refused to accept a plea deal that he said was too light for a woman who planned the robbery and beating of a man whose attackers partially crushed his skull and put him in the hospital for six months.

Tiffany Bernard, from the Lake Traverse area of Roberts County, originally was charged with five federal felonies. She agreed to plead guilty to a charge of robbery of the victim in turn for the four other charges being dropped.

But Kornmann turned down the deal. Both the defense attorney and the federal prosecutors in turn refused to accept his decisions and asked for review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that includes South Dakota.

Appellate Judge David Stras authored the Eighth Circuit decision overturning Kornmann and telling him to accept the four dismissals.

“Rather than addressing whether the prosecutor acted in bad faith, the court just listed the reasons it thought Bernard was getting off too easy: she was ‘very dangerous’ and ‘by far the most culpable’; Alaniz suffered life-threatening injuries; and a ‘conviction for robbery alone strip[ped] the [c]ourt of any ability to sentence [her] to a just punishment.’ These may be important factors to consider at sentencing, but they are not reasons to interfere with the government’s charging decisions, no matter how much the court may disagree with them,” Stras wrote.