- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2003

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — A judge accused of bias said Friday he is stepping down from presiding over a case involving an American couple’s attempt to adopt a Chinese girl against her parents’ wishes.

The girl’s natural parents, He Shaoqiang and Luo Qin, contend Judge D.J. Alissandratos has treated them unfairly, and their complaints have drawn the attention of the Chinese Embassy in the District.

The Hes have been barred from visiting their 4-year-old daughter, Anna Mae, for more than two years while foster parents Jerry and Louise Baker have been trying to adopt her.

The Chinese couple, struggling with financial hardships and a criminal charge, put Anna Mae in foster care shortly after her birth in 1999. Their repeated attempts over the past three years to get the child back have failed, and they now face possible deportation before regaining custody of the girl.

Judge Alissandratos said at a hearing that he has asked the state Supreme Court to appoint a new judge because a complaint has been filed against him. Complaints against judges are filed with the state Court of the Judiciary and are confidential.

David Siegel, the Hes’ attorney, declined comment, and Larry Parrish, the Bakers’ attorney, said the judge’s announcement caught him by surprise.

The Chinese couple accuse Judge Alissandratos of being biased against them and in favor of the Bakers. The Chinese Embassy has written to the Court of the Judiciary, saying it is “greatly concerned with this prolonged case and the legal interests of the Hes.”

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