Judge Manuel Ramirez Receives Appelate Post : Judiciary: He will be presiding justice of the San Bernardino division of the 4th District Court of Appeal.


Orange County Superior Court Judge Manuel A. Ramirez was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian on Tuesday to be presiding justice of the San Bernardino division of the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Ramirez, 42, of Yorba Linda will lead a panel of justices assigned to hear appeals from Superior Courts in San Bernardino, Riverside and Inyo counties.

Panels of other justices for the 4th District Court of Appeal sit in San Diego, where the appeal court is based, and in Santa Ana.


“I’m excited to join a panel of such dedicated, hard-working judges,” Ramirez said. “But I’m also saddened to leave the judges here, who are exceptionally dedicated and hard-working.”

Since his appointment to Orange County Superior Court in 1986, Ramirez has held various assignments, including the mental health calendar, which focuses on commitments to psychiatric institutions. Among those was the widely publicized case of Alberto Valdez. Valdez was institutionalized for more than 30 years, misdiagnosed as mentally retarded because he had never learned to speak. Ruling in a lawsuit by Valdez’s family, Ramirez released him a year ago.

Deukmejian named Ramirez to Orange County Municipal Court in Santa Ana in 1983. It was the governor’s first appointment of a Latino to the bench. Ramirez quickly developed a reputation as fair, hard-working and well-versed in the law. He was widely watched as he heard the case of DeAnna Young, a 13-year-old who turned in her parents on drug charges.

As an Orange County deputy district attorney from 1976 to 1983, Ramirez rose to become the senior felony trial prosecutor in the sex crimes unit. He handled some high-profile cases, including a paternity suit against Frank Sinatra Jr.

The son of a factory worker, Ramirez received his law degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1974 and his bachelor’s degree from Whittier College in 1970. Born in Los Angeles and reared in Rosemead, Ramirez is married and has four children.

In his new post, Ramirez replaces the late Justice Joseph Campbell. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Commission on Judicial Appointments.