Bar, Alexander remain at odds

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

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 responseTuesdayto 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 Alexanderon Wednesday.

"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."

Reach Anthony Skeens ataskeens@triplicate.com .

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