Alumnae Achievement Awards
Nora Manella ’72
U.S. District Court Judge
Manella ’72 is U.S. District Judge for the Central District
of California, the largest federal court district
in the United States. Named among the "50
Most Influential Women Lawyers" by the National
Law Journal, Manella has also led one of the busiest
and most prestigious US Attorney's offices in the
Training and Early Years
An Italian major at Wellesley, Manella graduated from
the University of Southern California Law Center in
1975, where she was an editor of the Law Review.
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.
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
In 1982, Manella became Assistant US Attorney in the
Central District of California's Criminal Division,
taking over the Criminal Appeals Department in 1988.
As a federal prosecutor, Manella obtained
convictions in violent crimes, international narcotics
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.
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.
As US Attorney, Manella prosecuted some of the decade's
most notorious cases, gaining verdicts against two
sitting congressmen, Arizona Governor J. Fife Symington
III and Representative Walter R. Tucker III, nearly
two dozen members of the Mexican Mafia, and over twenty
bankers, banks, and narcotics money launderers in the
largest money laundering case brought in the history
of the country.
Manella began her term as US District
Judge in early 1999. She is the 1995 recipient of the
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.
For more information about the Alumnae
Achievement Awards, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call the Alumnae Association at 781-283-2331.