Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, January 14, 2002


Page 3


CJP Scraps Misconduct Hearing for Indio Judge Due To Proposal to Settle Charges of Rights Abuses


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Riverside Superior Court Judge Eugene R. Bishop and lawyers for the Commission on Judicial Performance have proposed a settlement of charges that the 72-year-old jurist violated parents’ rights in dependency court hearings, the commission disclosed Friday.

No details were available. The commission declined to release the contents of the proposal, and Bishop’s lawyer, James Friedhofer of San Diego, was unavailable for comment.

The commission vacated a hearing, slated for Wednesday in Santa Ana, on allegations that Bishop deprived parents of due process on four different occasions by removing children from their custody or placing them in foster care without notice.

Charges were filed in September. The Indio-based judge, in his answer, said he acted in the children’s best interests according to his best understanding of the law and that he relied heavily on the explanations of counsel for the minors and the county. He also said the commission’s actions threaten judicial independence.

Friedhofer has said Bishop was accused of misconduct for having committed “legal error with unpopular results.”

Bishop was appointed to the court by Gov. George Deukmejian in 1985. He previously served as a judge of the Desert Municipal Court in Riverside County, having been appointed in 1980 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In other commission action, a Feb. 26 hearing has been scheduled in the matter of San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Michael E. Platt, who was accused in September of fixing tickets and interceding in cases before other bench officers.

Platt, 52, was charged with six counts of misconduct by the commission. He was appointed to the court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company