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Split verdict on judge

August 26, 2009

Re "Critics want this judge benched," Aug. 16

I liked your article about U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, but you were much too kind to him. He abuses his judicial powers regularly.

It is too bad you had space limitations. If you could have printed a five-part series about Real, you could have given your readers dozens of examples of judicial abuses perpetrated by him.

He is a prime example that supports my belief that every federal trial court judge should be required to undergo a psychological exam once every two years to determine if he or she has the requisite temperament and mental balance to function effectively as a fair and evenhanded trial judge.

Tom Van Howard

Los Angeles

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Carol Williams' incisive article on Real reminded me of several experiences I had before the judge during more than 40 years of trial practice.

I have always been of two minds about Real as a result of my contacts with him in these cases.

Two days before a trial was to begin, I received a call from Real's clerk informing me that he would be on vacation in South America for a month.

This late notice cost my client thousands of dollars in trial preparation, and once the proceedings began, each day lasted from the morning until 10 or 11 at night.

That said, Real conducted the trial in an otherwise fair manner and made intelligent rulings throughout, including his final determination.

At all times he was well-versed in the law.

Those who have defended Real over the years will continue to have difficulty explaining the conduct revealed in the article, and those who revile him may not be giving him his due.

Thomas S. Kerrigan

Newbury Park

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