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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Judge Named to Preside at Trial of Supremacist

May 06, 2000

LOS ANGELES — U.S. District Judge Nora Manella has been selected to preside at the upcoming trial of Buford O. Furrow Jr., the white supremacist accused of shooting and wounding five people at the North Valley Jewish Community Center last year and murdering a Filipino American postal worker afterward.

Manella, who previously headed the federal prosecutor's office in Los Angeles, replaces Judge Richard A. Paez, who was recently elevated to a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Furrow's trial is set to start in December and could be lengthy. It is likely to be the subject of numerous pretrial motions and possible appeals because the government is seeking the death penalty against the Washington state defendant.

In one of his last actions before bowing out, Paez earlier this week rejected a motion by Furrow's federal public defenders for access to a government memo recommending that Atty. Gen. Janet Reno approve a death penalty prosecution against Furrow.

Paez also gave the defense until June 26 to disclose whether it plans to raise a mental health defense in the guilt phase of the trial.

Manella, like Paez, was chosen at random from among Los Angeles' federal judges to preside in the case.

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