Training and Early Years
After clerking for Judge John Minor Wisdom at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Manella served as legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, focusing on the rights of state prisoners.
From 1978 to 1982, she practiced corporate civil litigation with O'Melveny & Myers - first in Washington, D.C., then in Los Angeles.
Federal Prosecutor and Judge
As a federal prosecutor, Manella obtained convictions in violent crimes, international narcotics trafficking, and tax and commodities fraud. One of her most celebrated successes was the conviction of antiwar activist Katya Komisaruk for smashing a navigational computer at the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara.
In 1990, Manella was appointed to the Municipal Court, which she left in 1992 upon her elevation to the Superior Court. She presided over 'People v. Robinson', a 30-year-old murder case profiled in CBS' "60 Minutes" and authored over 20 opinions while sitting by designation on the State Court of Appeal.
In 1993, at the recommendation of Senator Diane Feinstein, President Clinton nominated Manella for US Attorney. She was confirmed later that year.
Manella began her term as US District Judge in early 1999. She is the 1995 recipient of the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles' Ernestine Stahlhut Award for her "significant contributions to the cause of justice," and has been elected to the American Law Institute. She is a frequent speaker at federal symposia across the country.
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