Submitted August 6, 2019
Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct of the
Supreme Court, No. 2018-048.
M. Caligiuri, Disciplinary Counsel, and Michelle R. Bowman,
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for relator.
Christopher Paul Mitchell, pro se.
1} Respondent, Christopher Paul Mitchell, of
Washington, D.C., Attorney Registration No. 0077327, was
admitted to the practice of law in Ohio in 2004. He is also
licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and
before the United States Patent and Trademark Office
("USPTO"). On May 15, 2018, we suspended
Mitchell's license on an interim basis following his
felony conviction for leaving the scene of an accident
involving injury or death. In re Mitchell 152 Ohio
St.3d 1472, 2018-Ohio-1897, 97 N.E.3d 507.
2} In a complaint filed with the Board of
Professional Conduct on September 27, 2018, relator,
disciplinary counsel, alleged that Mitchell committed an
illegal act that reflects adversely on his honesty,
trustworthiness, and fitness to practice law by driving while
intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident involving
injury. The parties entered into stipulations of fact,
misconduct, and aggravating and mitigating factors and agreed
that the appropriate sanction for Mitchell's misconduct
is a one-year suspension, fully stayed on conditions. Based
on those stipulations and Mitchell's testimony and other
evidence presented at a hearing before a panel of the board,
the board found that Mitchell committed the charged
misconduct and recommends that we suspend him from the
practice of law for one year, with the suspension fully
stayed on conditions.
3} We accept the board's findings of misconduct
and recommended sanction.
4} At approximately 2:20 a.m. on April 29, 2017,
Mitchell was involved in a two-car crash in Fredericksburg,
Virginia. He failed to yield the right-of-way and collided
with another car causing extensive damage to both vehicles.
The driver and passenger in the other vehicle were
transported to the hospital, where they were treated for
minor injuries. Although Mitchell's car was significantly
damaged and his airbags had deployed, Mitchell left the scene
of the crash. The police apprehended him a short time later,
and he cooperated with their investigation. Mitchell admitted
that he had consumed six beers that evening, and he expressed
concern about the occupants of the other vehicle. A
breathalyzer test showed that his blood-alcohol content was
5} Following his arrest, Mitchell voluntarily
contacted the District of Columbia Lawyers Assistance
Program, which recommended that he contact the Family
Counseling Center for Recovery ("FCCR"), a
treatment facility near his home. FCCR assessed Mitchell and
recommended that he participate in an intensive outpatient
program consisting of 24 sessions, which he successfully
completed. Mitchell voluntarily wore a SCRAM (secure
continuous remote alcohol monitoring) bracelet on his ankle
from May 8, 2017, to February 8, 2018, during which the
device detected no alcohol in his system. He also sought out
an Alcoholics Anonymous ("AA") sponsor, who
recommended that he attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Mitchell
testified that he attended at least one meeting a day for his
first year in the program.
6} Mitchell was charged in Virginia with leaving the
scene of an accident involving injury or death, a
fifth-degree felony, and driving while intoxicated, a
first-degree misdemeanor. On February 8, 2018, he pleaded
guilty to both charges. The trial court sentenced him to
three years in prison for the felony and 60 days in jail for
the misdemeanor but suspended both terms and placed him on
supervised probation for five years. The court also ordered
him to successfully complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety
Action Program, pay a fine and court costs, comply with all
terms of his probation, and remain on good behavior.
7} Mitchell admitted that his conduct violated
Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(b) (prohibiting a lawyer from committing an
illegal act that reflects adversely on his honesty and
trustworthiness) and 8.4(h) (prohibiting a lawyer from
engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the
lawyer's fitness to practice law). The board agreed,
finding that Mitchell's misconduct violated Prof.Cond.R.
8.4(b) and was sufficiently egregious to warrant a separate
finding of a Prof.Cond.R. 8.4(h) violation. See
Disciplinary Counsel v. Bricker, 137 Ohio St.3d 35,
2013-Ohio-3998, 997 N.E.2d 500, ¶ 21.
8} We accept these ...