California Bar Recommends Disbarment of Del Norte District Attorney

gavel2This week, the State Bar Court of California took the rare step of not only finding Del Norte County Dist. Atty. Jon Michael Alexander guilty of misconduct but recommending disbarment to the California Supreme Court. Many of us have long complained that prosecutors are rarely punished for abuses like withholding evidence, even when such misconduct leads to costly reversals. This case sends a stronger message that we will not continue to tolerate prosecutors who routinely withhold evidence and violate ethical rules. I have personally seen all of these forms of misconduct by prosecutors in prior cases without any sanction or discipline resulting for those responsible. The Justice Department has a particular poor record in disciplining its attorneys even in the face of outrageous acts of misconduct from supporting torture to withholding evidence.

In the opinion below, Alexander was found guilty of withholding exculpatory evidence, perjury and speaking to a defendant without the permission of her attorney.

Notably, this is Alexander’s fourth such case of discipline. He was elected in 2010.

Alexander, 64, was found to have conducted business with people that he worked with in his official capacity. That $14,000 loan raised questions because the officer has to make independent judgments in cases that were handed by Alexander first as a public defender and then as a district attorney.

One of the most serious violations involved Alexander meeting with a defendant in a drug case without the knowledge of her attorney. He was then found to have lied under oath in saying that he had immediately informed the defendant’s lawyer. He was also charged with failing to reveal of another lawyer that the woman had provided exculpatory evidence about his client.

Here is the opinion 11-O-12821-2

9 thoughts on “California Bar Recommends Disbarment of Del Norte District Attorney”

  1. You will notice that there are few lawyers out there in America who are conversant with section 1983 litigation. Many, many, law grads go out into practice and get real good at divorces. Jury trial experience is becoming a rarity. A prosecutor who withholds evidence needs to be sued, blasted with a huge judgment and sent to Southern California to pick oranges for a living.

  2. We civil rights lawyers need to work on beating up the exemption for “prosecutorial discretion” in civil rights litigation under 42 U.S.C. Section `1983.

  3. Looks like he was set up by Taylor and VanParks and he fell for it. Wonder if an attorney helped them with it? He didn’t have to fall for it, though.

  4. Raft and Mike S.,

    Good call…. Now when will Yoo, Bybee, Holder, Ortiz, and Gonzales have the same tribute….

  5. I would urge people to read the opinion that he has linked, all 26 pages. What is interesting to me is that this was the fourth State Bar proceeding against this DA, two of which led to periods of disbarment, prior to his running for office and yet he was elected. It also seems that he had and abundance of character witnesses ranging from Mayors to Judges to Democratic Party officials. Reading between the line you see that this man was a political insider and those connections served him well. This man had a rather borderline sleazy history, yet he was able to run for ad win office. The political aspects of our methods of determining prosecutors, coupled with the propensity of prosecutors to see their positions as stepping stones, skew our justice system away from fairness for all. We need to find a different way to choose prosecutors, that will assure that they will uphold their duties honorably. While we need to do this, I’m not quite sure that it can be done and that therefore our justice system has broken down.

Comments are closed.