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Ninth Circuit refuses to discipline judge



Judge Manuel Real, of the Central District of California, lawlessly intervened in a bankruptcy case of a probationer he was supervising, and made a muck of it, including engaging in ex parte communications. "Real twice denied motions that would have permitted the trust to evict [Deborah] Canter. When asked for an explanation, he responded: 'Because I said it,' according to court records." Nevertheless, on the promise of Real's attorney that Real would never do it again, the Ninth Circuit, apparently used to lawless judge behavior, decided not to sanction him. Judge Kozinski was one of two dissenters:

Real "offered nothing at all to justify his actions � not a case, not a statute, not a bankruptcy treatise, not a law review article � not even a [blog]," 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, based in Pasadena, wrote in his dissent.

"I also believe that the aggrieved creditors are entitled to an apology from the judges of our circuit for the cost, grief and inconvenience they suffered in one of our courts because of [Real's] unprofessional behavior," Kozinski wrote.

"The judge who committed the misconduct refuses to offer such an apology, and it is therefore up to us. Because I cannot speak for the Judicial Council, a majority of whose members see far too little wrong with what [Real] here did, I offer mine." [...]

"A federal courtroom is not Sherwood Forest," Kozinski wrote. "A judge may not take property from one party and give it to another, except by following established rules of procedure."

(Henry Weinstein, "L.A. Judge Avoids Sanctions by Panel", Los Angeles Times, Oct. 1; In re Judicial Misconduct, No. 03-89037 (9th Cir., Sep. 29, 2005)).

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.