9th Circuit Bounces Judge from Case for Favoring Prosecution
Posted Mar 26, 2008 7:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A federal appeals court has removed U.S. District Judge Manuel Real in a securities fraud case for creating an atmosphere that favored the prosecution.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for two convicted defendants, saying they were prejudiced by Real’s "excessive and biased interventions” on behalf of prosecutors, the National Law Journal reports.
"The catalog of inappropriate behavior by the trial court is long, so we merely summarize it here," the court said in its March 19 order (PDF). The court accused Real of:
--Making adverse evidentiary rulings against the defendants without prosecutors first objecting.
--Overruling most defense objections without explanation.
--Admitting government evidence that he had previously excluded when offered by the defense.
--Making several “intemperate remarks” to defense counsel in the jury’s presence.
--Aggressively questioning two witnesses “in a manner that crossed the line between clarifying the evidence, which is permissible, and aiding the government, which is not.”
Real has been removed from at least seven other cases in the past, the National Law Journal story says. He faced possible impeachment based on allegations he interfered in a bankruptcy case to protect a probationer he was supervising, but Congress did not pursue the action.