Randall Benton / Bee file

Former Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander, shown in his Crescent City office in 2012, is facing disbarment after a review found he improperly interrogated a defendant.

Move to disbar former Del Norte prosecutor backed

Published: Friday, May. 2, 2014 - 12:38 pm

The California State Bar Court review department affirmed Wednesday an April 2013 recommendation to disbar former Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander.

The California Supreme Court will issue a final ruling on the matter. Until then, Alexander will be unable to practice law. He was removed from office after the 2013 ruling.

Alexander, a recovering methamphetamine addict, had earned plaudits for his community service and efforts to fight illicit drugs in the rural county at the Oregon border.

But a review by Judge Judith Epstein found his improper interrogation of a criminal defendant inexcusable.

The former DA tried to gain information from the drug defendant, asking her, “who sold you the drugs?” and warning her of a possible prison sentence, although he knew she was represented by an attorney. That violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment protections under the U.S. Constitution, according to the Bar Court rulings. It was one of several transgressions that showed that the former DA “clearly and convincingly committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption,” the trial judge wrote last year.

Epstein also cited Alexander’s long history of Bar discipline for other transgressions – both during and after his years of active drug addiction.

The Bar Court examination of Alexander’s alleged misconduct followed a Sacramento Bee investigation that detailed the legal and ethical concerns noted by the Bar Court, among others.

Alexander’s attorney, Kurt Melchior, could not be reached for comment. Alexander can request a full hearing by the Supreme Court, although such a hearing would be unusual. The court has no set timeframe for its ruling.

Call The Bee’s Charles Piller, (916) 321-1113. Follow him on Twitter @cpiller.

Read more articles by Charles Piller

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