Out of respect for the only periodical to possess the courage to question the McCarthy-like attack on Del Norte County district attorney Jon Alexander, I am writing this letter, finding it difficult to know where to begin.
First, the complaining parties — a defendant charged with a drug DUI and former members of that county’s DA office, all terminated, either by the county or at the polls — whom the Office of Chief Trial Counsel prosecutors refused to subpoena and incredibly acted to both block their depositions and prevent them from taking the witness stand. Second, the charges themselves, with the OCTC venomously crying out for disbarment, boil down to three incidents: a personal loan received from a friend, which was repaid before Alexander’s swearing-in; a loan he extended to a friend in 2009 to help her stave off foreclosure of her house; and last, a young, female, convicted meth trafficker who barged into his office without appointment or notice, illegally taping the orchestrated conversation, in which he tried to talk her into rehab.
The attorney/friend whose case was dismissed by Alexander was never cited for misconduct. Second, the transcript of the trial shows that not only was the probation officer not a judicial officer as required, but that Alexander, as the chief of probation and the presiding judge testified, never received any benefit from that loan. As for the meth dealer who secretly taped Alexander, the case against her co-defendant was dismissed with no detriment to him. Witnesses from a former California District Attorneys Association president to a former vice president of the bar association to a Fourth District Court of Appeal justice all said Alexander’s act of speaking to the woman without her attorney present did not constitute cause for any disbarment or even suspension. Equally, if not more important, the deputy attorney general who prosecuted the woman after Alexander conflicted off the case testified in agreement that no suspension should be imposed.
In addition to the infirmity of the trial counsel’s case and the absence of supporting evidence, the court received almost 200 letters from every segment of the Del Norte County community supporting Alexander. Additionally, while the prosecutors spent thousands of dollars in travel and lodging fees for four witnesses, almost 20 people traveled thousands of miles at their own expense to testify for Alexander and the good he does for our county. Those testifying included members of our Board of Supervisors, Board of Education, the Fourth District, the author of Marsy’s Law, the district attorney of Imperial County, the Del Norte recovery community, the chief justice of the Yurok Tribal Court, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Crescent City Police chief, Sutter Coast Hospital chief of staff, the former president of the Boys and Girls Club, the Crescent City mayor, the former CASA director and a former six-term tax assessor. Further, the president of CCPOA-Pelican Bay, officers of the Lake Earl Grange and 4-H and two Sheriff’s Task Force detectives drove all night to testify and then drove back the same day to resume duty.
Even if Judge Lucy Armendariz was able to find some semblance of inappropriate activity on Alexander’s part, it pales in comparison to the immense good he does for our county on a daily basis. It is well-known, however unspoken, that the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel has been in upheaval since the California Supreme Court recently began sending cases back wanting more severe sentences — so much so as to witness the mass firings of bar prosecutors over the past two years. Also unspoken is the open season this has produced on prosecutors in general and the witch hunt in which Alexander now finds himself embroiled.
Except for a small band of detractors, some driven out of revenge for his election and others vocally upset with having to work harder due to his holding criminals accountable while increasing their workloads, Alexander has unified every corner and constituency of our county, and we implore Judge Armendariz to do the right thing and allow us to keep the district attorney that we elected. I hope that she does not succumb to the recent political cry for heads and stand with the bar prosecutors’ tyrannical exercise in job-saving persecution, but instead stands up to them and for justice. We pray for her courage to do the right thing in this case.
Editor’s note: Kathryn Murray is a councilwoman in Crescent City.
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