Bar rejects more time for the DA

By Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate August 06, 2012 05:56 pm

Alexander cites conflict with Wyatt prosecution

A California State Bar trial scheduled for Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander could affect his prosecution of the Jarrod Wyatt murder case.

The two trials are set days apart in September, and the State Bar Court has denied a motion to continue Alexander’s trial, which could lead to his disbarment.

The Wyatt trial was scheduled prior to the State Bar trial, and Del Norte County Superior Court Judge William Follett has ordered there be no more continuances in the 2-year-old case already beset with delays.

“I’ve never seen that happen,” said attorney Kurt Melchior, who is defending Alexander and has been practing law for 55 years. “He’s got a pre-existing duty in the Wyatt case.”

The trial is set for Sept. 4–8 in San Francisco before a State Bar Court judge. It involves seven counts of misconduct, including corruption. Alexander has denied the charges. The Wyatt case is set to begin Sept. 10.

“We laid out in some detail how important the Wyatt case was,” said Melchior. “This is supposed to be the biggest criminal case in the county.”

Wyatt, 27, a former mixed martial arts fighter, is accused of fatally beating Taylor Powell, 21, of Crescent City, in March  2010. 

The State Bar has a rule stating cases need to be resolved eight months after the filing date. Alexander’s charges were filed in May, which gives plenty of time after the Wyatt case to go to trial, Melchior said.

State Bar prosecutors in their reponse to Alexander’s motion argued that “a trial continuance, especially the very lengthy trial continuance respondent has requested, would be inconsistent with the purposes of attorney discipline — protection of the public, the courts and the legal profession.”

Alexander’s trial should take priority considering those circumstances, the response states.

State Bar officials could not be reached for further comment Friday evening.

Alexander has filed an appeal of the rejection, and Melchior is awaiting a response about whether it will be considered.

Another motion for a continuance was filed July 26 on the grounds that Alexander is medically unfit to travel to San Franciso after he tore a ligament in his knee in a dunk tank accident during a Fourth of July fundraiser.

The motion states Alexander could not travel more than one hour at a time for two months without risking a blood clot.

The State Bar has yet to respond to that motion.

Meanwhile, Alexander has been ordered to appear at the State Bar Court on Wednesday for a settlement conference.

Melchior stated Alexander can’t  make it for medical reasons. He declined to speculate about how Alexander’s absence could affect the case. 

“What would be wrong with putting everything on pause ... nobody is ducking anything,” said Melchior. “It’s a total lack of thoughtful consideration for the need to provide decent time to prepare, to allow the Wyatt case consideration and to give consideration to genuine health problems.”

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