The district attorney of Del Norte County faces new disciplinary charges from the State Bar of California that could lead to his removal from office or disbarment.
Jon Alexander, a recovering methamphetamine addict elected in 2010, said he would fight the charges, filed Tuesday. His case will be tried in a special Bar Court, probably within about four months
The bar repeatedly has suspended Alexander's law license for ethical or professional lapses. The DA for the rural county in northwest California practices under bar probation until May 2013. Disbarment would disqualify him from completing his term. Another suspension could have the same result.
The new bar charges describe numerous "acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption" many of which were detailed in a Bee investigation in February.
The bar charged that by failing to disclose financial and professional conflicts of interest, Alexander operated in a corrupt manner. It also charged that when the DA interviewed a defendant without her attorney, he violated her rights.
The "charges don't hold water," Alexander wrote in an email apparently addressed to constituents. "You elected me, and I won't quit until you tell me to."
Some officials have wondered if the DA's addiction prior to 2004 underlies his current problems.
"I do not believe for a second that Alexander should be DA (because) I think his mental abilities continue to be adversely affected by his long-time meth use, even though he appears to be sober now," wrote State Bar deputy trial counselor Cydney Batchelor, in a private email obtained by The Bee.
The bar said Alexander should have disclosed a loan from a defense attorney in a case of alleged child stealing. George Mavris, a former business partner of the DA, loaned Alexander $6,000 for hair transplants just before he took office. Soon after under pressure from Mavris, according to the bar notice the DA dismissed the charges against Mavris' client in that case.
By failing to recuse himself or disclose the relationship, Alexander "committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption," the bar notice concluded.
Alexander said he repaid the loan promptly and dropped the charges because the case was weak.
The bar also accused him of "an act of corruption" by failing to disclose that he loaned $14,000 to the county's assistant chief probation officer. Probation officers write reports that affect sentencing, and DAs often seek to influence those reports.
The loan tendered prior to his election doesn't represent a conflict, Alexander said. The probation official handled cases of defendants whom Alexander represented as a defense attorney and, after his election, others whom he prosecuted.
The bar complaint also charges that last July Alexander improperly interviewed a drug defendant, without her attorney's permission. In that meeting, Alexander pressed the woman to reveal her dealer and warned that she could face imprisonment. He later concealed the meeting from the court.
Alexander denied acting corruptly. "Not immediately terminating the meeting and discussion when (she) entered my office may at most have been an error in judgment," he wrote.