Opinion Requires More Fact-Finding in Manuel Real Ethics Case
Posted Jan 22, 2008 10:55 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The U.S. Judicial Conference has upheld a censure of U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of Los Angeles for improper ex parte communications with a litigant and has remanded a second complaint for more fact-finding.
Real was given a private reprimand in the second complaint for a pattern and practice of failing to provide adequate reasons for his decisions when required to do so, the Recorder reports. The second complaint had not been previously disclosed.
The conference’s Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability said in its opinion (PDF) that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit should engage in more fact-finding to determine whether Real acted willfully. If it finds he did, the council should consider whether a more severe sanction such as public censure is warranted, the opinion says.
Embattled civil rights lawyer Stephen Yagman had filed the second complaint against Real, the Los Angeles Times reports. Yagman is facing his own troubles; he has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion, money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.
Yagman had also filed the complaint against Real alleging improper contacts with a litigant. The lawyer claimed Real interfered in a bankruptcy case to protect a probationer he was supervising.