Update – November 4, 2014
The California Supreme Court has disbarred Jon Alexander, the former Del Norte District Attorney who was suspended following state bar findings that he had spoken to a defendant about her case without her attorney present. The court made its ruling without comment, affirming the recommendation of a state bar judge. According to bar officials, Alexander is the first sitting district attorney to be disbarred in the state.
Original Post – August 1, 2013
Del Norte District Attorney Jon Alexander is fighting his suspension by the Del Norte Board of Supervisors, which occurred in April this year. The Board’s decision followed the ruling of a California State Bar judge, who found that Alexander had violated three rules of ethical conduct: “communication with a represented party, moral turpitude and suppression of evidence.”
According to The Times-Standard, Alexander filed documents with the Del Norte County Superior Court last week requesting a stay on the board’s decision to suspend him without pay until the court can review a petition for writ of mandamus, which he has also filed. A favorable ruling on the writ could mean the board would have to reverse its decision and reinstate Alexander, as well as repay him with interest for the period he has been suspended.
We previously posted about Alexander’s case here. Remarkably, he is the first sitting District Attorney in California to be suspended from his position.
Alexander met with a defendant in a drug case without the knowledge of her attorney and then lied under penalty of perjury that he had immediately informed the defendant’s lawyer of the meeting. He also failed to disclose to another lawyer that the defendant had provided exculpatory evidence about his client.
State Bar Judge Lucy Armendariz issued a 26-page ruling rebuking Alexander and ordering his transfer to involuntary inactive status, saying:His lack of candor and truthfulness in his dealings with the court and opposing counsel demonstrate that he did not comprehend his special duty as a prosecutor to promote justice and seek the truth, and not merely to convict…(Alexander) clearly and convincingly committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption.
In defense of his filing, Alexander said last week:I am the elected DA of this county; I still believe that I am. My job is to represent the people of this county as a prosecutor. I am not ready to relinquish that right.
The petition of writ filed with the court alleges that the Board acted outside of its scope of jurisdiction because it does not actually have the authority to fire Alexander; that only the Attorney General, a recall election or a grand jury accusation can accomplish that. Alexander also alleges that he was denied due process when the Board failed to give him notice of its plan to suspend him without pay, saying he was not given an opportunity to defend himself.
The Times-Standard reports that a hearing on the application for a stay of the Board’s decision has been set for Aug. 16 at 9 a.m.
StoptheDrugWar.org has produced an insightful feature article on Jon Alexander, written by Clarence Walker and published on October 7, 2013.