SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A California prosecutor with a checkered disciplinary record should be disbarred for their latest infraction, which he also lied about, a judge ruled.
The lengthy disciplinary record of Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander includes one suspension for allegedly having an ex parte communication with a sentencing judge in a criminal case.
State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz's recommendation against Alexander will reportedly make him the state's first district attorney to be disbarred.
He was caught this time after Michelle Taylor, a suspect in a drug-possession case, burst into his office on July 8, 2011, with a hidden recording device. She told Alexander that the methamphetamine and marijuana that police had found on her belonged to her and not to Damion VanParks, another suspect, according to Armendariz's report.
Alexander allegedly asked Taylor if she had a lawyer but failed to stop the conversation once Taylor she said she was represented by public defender Darren McElfresh.
Instead he spoke to Taylor about the facts surrounding the criminal charges, including asking who sold her the drugs, Armendariz noted, adding that McElfresh had not consented to Alexander's conversation with his client.
Alexander did not inform McElfresh or William Cater, the lawyer for VanParks, about the conversation until VanParks obtained a copy of the recording and gave it to his new court-appointed attorney Leroy Davies on Aug. 10, 2011.
The ruling notes that Alexander had also staying silent at a July 19 preliminary hearing against VanParks.
Alexander also allegedly denied having a conversation with Taylor when confronted by Assistant District Attorney Katherine Micks. The court dismissed all charges against VanParks soon after the tape-recording was revealed.
Alexander insisted in a declaration made under penalty of perjury that "any prior discussions with Michelle Taylor, presently represented by attorney Darren McElfresh, were immediately brought to Mr. McElfresh's attention," according to the ruling
Armendariz found, however, that "McElfresh never gave such consent."
"Therefore, Taylor was denied the basic protections of the guarantee of the Sixth Amendment when respondent elicited information from her in the absence of her counsel," according to the ruling.
The evidence shows that Alexander "clearly and convincingly committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption in willful violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 6106," Armendariz wrote.
The judge also found that Alexander had suppressed evidence by not informing VanParks and his lawyer that Taylor said the drugs were hers.
Alexander "intentionally concealed these statements until he discovered that there was a tape of their conversation," according to the ruling.
In determining whether to disbar or merely suspend Alexander, the judge considered three prior disciplines against Alexander and character statements.
The disciplines include failing to return unearned fees, practicing law with a suspended license, and having an ex parte communication with a sentencing judge in a criminal case in order to influence the sentence, according to the ruling.
Furthermore, the "aggravating circumstance of prior misconduct was magnified by the fact that respondent committed the current misconduct while on probation in prior disciplinary proceeding," Armendariz added.
Alexander's lack of insight and candor also favor disbarment, the judge found.