Taxpayers Face Escalating Liability as Wrongly Convicted Inmate Sues CDCR for Facilitating Hate Crime

Anand Jon – on the left, assault photo from May 2019; graduation photo from November 2019 (right).

The Vanguard has learned that a pre-dawn 911 call from R.J. Donovan Prison led to an ambulance transporting a high-profile prisoner to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (San Diego).

Last Friday (January 17), Anand Jon Alexander was admitted into an emergency room for undisclosed treatment following another episode of the side effects of being stabbed and beaten by a white supremacist seven months ago.

This latest incident comes days after a complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. In his complaint, Mr. Alexander claims that he was “waiting by the telephones to call his mother for her 70th birthday” on May 18, 2019, when he was attacked by a Level IV inmate.

His attorneys are calling this “a grievous assault perpetrated by another inmate” and believe this “was likely a racially motivated hate crime.” Writes his attorney: “This attack on Mr. Alexander was nothing less than an attempted murder…” This attack was followed by a death threat on May 25 from another inmate.

The suit adds, “The attack caused grave bodily injuries, including multiple stab wounds to his face and right eye (requiring over a dozen stitches at the upper orbital), five facial fractures, a lower orbital floor blowout, sinus and nasal fractures, a deviated septum, a 50% abrasion of the right cornea, long term impairment of his vision and respiration, serious nerve damage, PTSD, psychological collateral damage, ongoing therapy, work, and education restriction.” At least two serious surgeries have been recommended by treating physicians and “they presently cannot rule out permanent damage.”

Additionally, his complaint alleges that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and the named correctional officers “failed to protect Mr. Alexander “by knowingly allowing a known violent Level IV assailant to be housed with, and have open access to, Mr. Alexander, a Level II low risk inmate with no history of violence classified as a sensitive needs inmate.” His legal team argues, “[a]t no time should these two inmates have been on the same yard, much less the same floor, at the same time.” The known perpetrator of this crime is currently serving a 25-year-to-life sentence for murder and was convicted of gang crimes prior this latest criminal episode.

The suit quotes a correctional officer who called the perpetrator “a beast.” Yet the prison’s placement committee chose to “override” the assailant and move him down to a Level III yard and in the same building as Mr. Alexander, who is a Level II prisoner (held back in Level III yard without cause).

Furthermore, the prison’s floor officers negligently allowed the assailant to “sneak up on Mr. Alexander from behind” and stab him multiple times in the face. To add insult to injury, they wrote a report trying to incriminate Mr. Alexander as a mutual combatant in a fight with the perpetrator. In reality, as witnesses exposed, Mr. Alexander was “bloodied and blacked out on the floor.” There are many more anomalies and cover-ups, including how Mr. Alexander was stuck in the same yard for over 10 days with his assailant.

Following the attack, there was a lack of proper medical attention provided to Mr. Alexander. A referral for such a serious “assault with a deadly weapon” causing “grave bodily injury” (“attempted murder”) has yet be made to the district attorney, despite such referrals regularly occurring for far less serious offenses.

As recently as May 2018, Mr. Alexander successfully resolved the last of his charges in New York, Houston, and Dallas. He recovered previously withheld and newly discovered evidence showing he was falsely accused and wrongfully convicted in the Los Angeles criminal trial (2008-2009).

As we reported in October, state-induced racism inflamed the jurors, leading to juror misconduct. The L.A. prosecutors virtually ensured what Mr. Alexander’s attorney at the time (Leonard Levine) had put on record – “the prosecutor never intended to give Mr. Alexander a fair trial…they hijacked the jurors…and subverted our justice system” (July 6, 2008). Such racial and xenophobic tactics by the prosecutor have reverberated deep into the California prison system as well.

Unfortunately, evidence of innocence does not protect anyone from prison hate crimes, which have escalated since the CDCR began mixing incompatible prisoners prone to violence and/or with mental health or serious addictions with non-violent inmates such as Mr. Alexander, who are actively participating in rehabilitation with a focus on assimilating with society.

On Monday, Mr. Alexander told the Vanguard, “While making progress in overturning my wrongful conviction, as well as self-help programs, the last thing I wanted to deal with is some sneak attack stabbing, related injuries and long-term effects.”

He added, “The way some of those in care and custody – entrusted with my safety, health and security – betrayed their obligations left me with no choice but to take fair and proportionate legal action. because this sort of deliberate indifference has cost too many lives already.”

Mr. Alexander was the rising star of the fashion world and, through these multiple trials and tribulations, is transforming an injustice into a cause to help society, honor real victims, and reduce crime and recidivism.

Although he looks well-healed at this time, and is reportedly actively involved in yoga, college courses, music groups, and self-help programs like A.R.C. (started by filmmaker Scott Budnick), there has been an increasing frequency of health issues attributed to the vicious stabbing Mr. Alexander suffered.

After months of pleading, Mr. Alexander was finally moved to the relatively “safer” for Level II Echo yard, where he was supposed to be housed in the first place (and 9 months prior to the assault). However, every day he remains in the custody of the CDCR (no matter the prison) the danger is real and the liability to California taxpayers is enormous and getting worse.

It is not just high-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian, John Legend, and Meek Mills who are campaigning for reducing mass incarceration. With sweeping changes, prison reform introduced by Governor Newsom as well as the new wave of progressive prosecutors (as the Vanguard hosted a few months ago), shows the public supports solutions and rehabilitation, not just blind punishment. Therefore, as a top candidate for a commutation, a request has been submitted to expedite Mr. Alexander’s relief, especially since he is a citizen of India and could easily be returned there instead.

Jeffrey Deskovic, himself an exoneree and head of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation, told the Vanguard, “Anand Jon’s case is fraught with prosecutorial misconduct and bad lawyering.  It is no wonder he was wrongfully convicted.”

In a letter, Mr. Deskovic added, “I have never seen a wrongful conviction case as broad and complex as this one. It’s absolutely stunning!”

Former California Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, the author of Assembly Bill 1909, described the injustice against Anand Jon Alexander as “one of the worst cases of police misconduct…utterly shocking…poster boy victim of 1909 violations.”

Corey Parker, Counsel for American Justice Alliance, argues in his amicus curiae brief, “Unless this Court rectifies this wrongful conviction, minority groups and individuals in the State of California will live in fear of being subject to such similar state-sponsored discrimination and underhanded, unconstitutional tactics by the very law enforcement tasked with protecting them.”

Mr. Alexander is also preparing for his federal court relief proceedings and an upcoming civil lawsuit against the CDCR.  In addition, he and his legal team are seeking a possible commutation from Governor Newsom.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for