CRESCENT CITY, Calif. (CN) – Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander strongly denies California State Bar charges of corruption and violations of professional conduct that could result in his disbarment, according to a press release.
Alexander maintains that the charges stem from complaints “from liars, criminals and fired former D.A. Office employees” and that the Bar has taken this action against him “in spite of me addressing each charge and providing over the past year, full and accurate answers to each allegation against me,” in a May 15 press release. The Office of the California State Bar did not respond to calls by press time.
The charges encompass seven counts involving three incidents, according to court documents.
In the first and second counts, Alexander allegedly loaned Assistant Chief Probation Officer Linda Sanford $14,000 while he was a public defender. The loan was made to “an official of a tribunal,” it was not repaid, there was no “personal or family relationship” between the parties, and Alexander did not “disclose the existence of the loan to the courts or opposing counsel for the three cases where Sanford was the assigned probation officer,” according to the Bar’s notice of disciplinary charges.
Alexander responded that the probation officer and her husband had “fed me, loaned me money for gas to visit my mother and supported me through hard times” when he came to Del Norte County to be near his dying mother. He said that he lent the money to help his friends “stave off foreclosure” of their home, and that the “personal relationship” predated the loan and his tenure as District Attorney.
The third count stems from a $6,000 loan that Alexander allegedly received from attorney George Mavris, who was representing Alexander in a different State Bar matter. The Bar’s notice of charges states that Alexander repaid the loan prior to his being sworn in as District Attorney, but it alleges he did not disclose the loan or the professional relationship with Mavris in a case involving two misdemeanor violations in People v. Zlokovich, in which Mavris represented Zlokovich. “Given respondent’s attorney-client and financial relationship with Mavris, respondent should not have taken any action on the Zlokovich matter, and should have recused himself from the matter,” the Bar’s notice states.
Alexander responded by noting that “the Deputy D.A. assigned to try the case recommended dismissal of the case on the merits. The trial judge questioned in open court why the People were proceeding to trial. At the time of my swearing-in, I had never even heard of the Zlokovich misdemeanor case. As the Deputy assigned to the case, the trial judge and I all concluded, the case should have been dismissed and I would do so again.” (Emphasis in original)
The remaining charges stem from an incident involving Alexander’s conversation with a party who was “represented by another lawyer without the consent of that lawyer,” according to the notice of charges.
The party in question, Michele Taylor, and her boyfriend, had been arrested for felony possession of drugs. Taylor went to Alexander’s office and told him she wanted to talk about the case. “Unbeknownst to the respondent, his conversation with Taylor was recorded” the suit states. The charging document further maintains that Alexander asked if she was represented and when she indicated that she was, alleges he did not stop the conversation. He did not disclose the conversation to the court, or “recuse himself from the case and failed to have the case reassigned to the Attorney Generals’ Office” according to the charges.
Alexander responded that the “case against Ms. Taylor was transferred to the Attorney General” and that no “improper, unlawful pressure or unfair advantage was ever brought to bear upon Ms. Taylor as a result of her orchestrated entry into my office and felonious taping of the conversation. No detriment to her case, her due process rights or herself have ever resulted from her voluntary and spontaneous statements. Not immediately terminating the meeting and discussion when Ms. Taylor entered my office may at most have been an error in judgment, but in no way an act of corruption as alleged. I strongly deny the charge.” (Emphasis in original)
Del Norte is the northernmost county on the coast of California.