Del Norte Triplicate
Current and former Del Norte Superior Court judges were called to the stand this week during a State Bar trial for District Attorney Jon Alexander in San Francisco.
Both current Judge William Follett and retired Judge Robert Weir were asked about a loan made by Alexander to an assistant chief deputy probation officer and a loan made to Alexander by a local defense attorney, according to two legal industry news organizations.
Follett testified that when he first learned of a $14,000 loan Alexander made to probation deputy Linda Sanford, it didn’t concern him because he knew of their close relationship, according to an online account from the SF Recorder.
Weir testified that he had heard of a loan made to Alexander by defense attorney George Mavris, the Recorder said. According to the Bar, Alexander spent the $7,000 loan on hair transplant surgery.
Weir acknowledged to State Bar prosecutor Linda Yen that the Mavris-Alexander loan appeared improper, but said he couldn’t testify to the motivation behind it, the Recorder said.
Weir was also asked why he had referred to the climate in the Del Norte legal community surrounding Alexander and his critics as a “jihad” during an interview with the Triplicate earlier this year, the Recorder said.
“There is kind of a jihad going on between certain individuals surrounding that (District Attorney’s) office, and I don’t think it’s in the public’s interest,” Weir said in an article published last May. “I’ll leave it to them to sort out how they would resolve it, but I think it needs to get resolved. It’s a kind of an ongoing, long-running soap opera; it doesn’t improve the image of the office or the justice system as a whole.”
The charges against Alexander include three counts of corruption, failure to perform with competence, suppressing evidence, communicating with a defendant and lending to a court official.
In all, 31witnesses are expected to testify, including local politicians, attorneys and business owners called to speak about Alexander’s character for mitigation purposes. In addition, 198 statements have been collected from people who will not be able to travel the distance to support Alexander.
The proceeding is a bench trial heard by State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz, who will have 90 days after the conclusion of the trial to form a decision.
From the onset of filing disciplinary charges against Alexander in May, the Office of Chief Trial Counsel announced it would be seeking disbarment if Alexander if he is found guilty of the counts. The Rules of Procedures of the Bar state if an attorney has a record of two prior Bar convictions, another conviction will result in disbarment “unless the most compelling mitigating circumstances clearly predominate.”
Alexander has had his bar license suspended twice since 2003.