Monday, December 3, 2001
CJP Slates Hearing for Indio Jurist Facing Charges
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A hearing has been set for Jan. 16 in Santa Ana on charges that a Riverside Superior Court judge violated the rights of parents in four separate dependency proceedings to proper notice, the Commission on Judicial Performance announced Friday.
Three special masters—Presiding Court of Appeal Justice Paul A. Turner of this district’s Div. Five, Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Rebecca Wiseman, and Orange Superior Court Judge Nancy Wieben Stock—will hear the evidence in the case of Judge Eugene R. Bishop and report their findings to the commission.
The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in the courtroom normally occupied by the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Three and is expected to last three days, the commission said.
Bishop who sits in Indio, is accused of having violated the Code of Judicial Ethics by:
•Ordering removal of two children from their mother’s home in a 1997 case without giving the mother formal notice that such action was being considered, a ruling later overturned by the Fourth District Court of Appeal;
•Ordering that the son of a state prisoner be adjudged dependent and placed in foster care without the prisoner or counsel being present and without the prisoner having executed a waiver, contrary to state law; and subsequently terminating the prisoner’s parental rights in a proceeding the Court of Appeal called “fundamentally unfair,”
•Granting custody of a child to his father to his father without notice to his mother—who had been awarded custody in family law proceedings—at a detention hearing, with no finding of dependency and no notice to the mother that her custody rights were at issue;
•Violating the rights of a child’s parents and grandparents by placing her in a non-relative foster home without granting visitation rights, even though the child had been living with the grandparents and neither they nor the parents had been notified of the potential removal.
Bishop, who is represented by San Diego attorney James E. Friedhofer, has argued that 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.
Friedhofer claims his client is one of a number of judges who have been accused of misconduct for having committed “legal error with unpopular results.”
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company