When ex-lawyer, former rodeo executive and admitted grand jury leaker Troy Ellerman walked out of Judge Jeffrey White’s federal courtroom and banged his head against the wall in frustration, he seemed to be expressing a sentiment held by everyone involved in his troubled case.

White, a well-known stickler for rules, refused on Thursday to approve a guilty plea in which Ellerman agreed to serve about two years in prison; the judge said the punishment didn’t fit the crimes.