Editor's note: Due to a production error, an incomplete version of this article appeared in Thursday's print edition. The full story follows, and will also be reprinted in Saturday's edition.
The California State Bar filed its response to suspended District Attorney Jon Alexander’s appeal of a Bar judge’s recommendation that his law license be permanently revoked.
The two documents — appeal and response — characterize the incident that ultimately led to the judge’s decision in starkly different ways.
Alexander’s appeal paints him as a victim of discriminatory prosecution compounded by a biased State Bar Court that wrongfully admitted evidence into his October trial.
A Bar judge placed Alexander on inactive status for practicing law in April after she recommended he be disbarred. The judge ruled that Alexander violated State Bar rules against communicating with a represented party, moral turpitude and suppressing evidence.
The violations stemmed from a conversation he had with a woman facing drug-related charges after she went into his office with a voice recorder in her pocket, which was later used to prove Alexander talked to her.
Alexander was subsequently suspended from his post by the Board of Supervisors, prompting another court battle as he fights to be taken off unpaid administrative leave while his appeal plays out.
The State Bar trial counsel’s take is that Alexander has failed to uphold the ethics of a practicing attorney while attempting to cover up wrongdoing once it was discovered he spoke with a defendant in an ongoing case.
This latest grievance is a nadir in Alexander’s checkered law career in which he has been suspended from practicing several times. When the latest incident occurred, he was on probation, the Bar counsel noted.
The Bar response contends that “some of the prior misconduct and all of the instant misconduct occurred after he stopped using drugs, respondent’s recovery from drug addiction does not reliably predict that respondent will avoid future misconduct.”
Alexander’s appeal contends that his past discretions should be given little weight in deciding his fate in the latest case due to how long ago they occurred, ranging from 15 years ago (for two convictions for driving with a suspended license) to the latest in 2005, when he attempted an ex parte communication with a judge.
It also contended that, considering he was going through a bout with drugs during a couple of the violations and has since recovered, they also should carry little weight.
Alexander’s appeal also states that he was targeted for prosecution based on his prior “disability and medical condition” — referring to his former drug use and the mental effects it may have caused. The appeal drew from an e-mail sent by a State Bar prosecutor that opined Alexander should not be in office because his mental abilities continue to be adversely affected by long-time methamphetamine use.
The appeal also contends he was singled out because of his former drug use.
The State Bar responded by stating that Alexander failed to prove the contention during the trial.
Alexander’s assertion that he suffered from judicial bias stems from the Bar’s reluctance to postpone his Bar hearings while he prepared for a major capital murder case.
The State Bar described the claim as “frivolous.”
The last major point Alexander’s appeal produced was the fact the State Bar Court admitted an “illegal” tape recording as evidence when it should have been excluded under state law.
The State Bar responded by describing the issue as “moot” because Alexander admitted he recalled the conversation. It added that Alexander was unable to identify any part of the conversation played on the recording that had been altered or removed.
“Not having read the Bar’s response, I can only reiterate I’ve done nothing dishonest or immoral and no person has suffered from any of the false charges brought against me,” said Alexander .
“If putting in 70 hours a week to vigorously prosecute criminals and protect and support law enforcement and the citizens and the children of this county are grounds for taking my license, I am profoundly and deeply saddened.”