Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From Addict To DA To Proposed Disbarment

The Review Department of the California State Bar Court has recommended disbarment of a prosecutor

 This is Jon Michael Alexander’s fourth disciplinary matter. The hearing judge below recommended his disbarment after finding that he committed serious misconduct while serving as the District Attorney of Del Norte County. Specifically, the judge found that Alexander violated rule 2-100(A) of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar1 by engaging in an ex parte meeting with a defendant who was represented by counsel in a pending criminal matter. The judge further found that Alexander committed acts of moral turpitude in violation of Business and Professions Code section 61062 because he told no one about his meeting and denied it had occurred when questioned about it by his deputy district attorney. Several weeks later, when confronted with a surreptitious recording of his communication with the defendant, he finally admitted to the meeting, but claimed he had forgotten about it.

Some background

 Alexander was admitted to the practice of law in California on July 2, 1987. In the early 1990s, he worked as a deputy for the Orange County District Attorney and subsequently for the Orange County Public Defender. He then went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney in Orange County. Alexander’s legal career took a severe downturn in 1996 when his use of cocaine and methamphetamine became a full-blown addiction. Ultimately, he lost his law practice and most of his personal possessions, including his home. He sought help and completed the Salvation Army’s 12-step substance abuse program. In early 2005, he successfully applied for a position as a prosecutor with the Del Norte County District Attorney. Alexander was elected and sworn in as the District Attorney for Del Norte County on January 3, 2011.

The Review Department noted that the misconduct here took place only months after the attorney was placed on probation for earlier ethical violations. His response did not serve his cause

Lastly, Alexander contends his political enemies are responsible for repeatedly filing spurious complaints about him with the State Bar, and repeatedly argues that his conduct did not harm Taylor or VanParks. His indifference to his own wrongdoing is a compelling factor in aggravation.

 (Mike Frisch)

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