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Fort Wayne lawyer admits DWI, gun charges


FORT WAYNE – A local public defense attorney pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges against him Friday, both of which stemmed from an encounter with a former client at a bar in September.

Mitchell W. Hicks, 55, admitted to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and to carrying a handgun without a license in Allen Superior Court. He did so without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Hicks, of the 400 block of Union Station Drive, was arrested in early September outside the Hitch-in-Post bar.

Fort Wayne police officers were called to the bar about a man with a weapon. The man who made that call was a former client of Hicks' who had previously filed an official complaint against the attorney.

Officers reported they found Hicks behind the wheel of his car outside the tavern.

When they spoke with him, they said, he acknowledged drinking for several hours and that he had a handgun for which he did not have a license or permit to carry.

Hicks also told officers he did not point his gun at the man who called police or anyone else, according to court documents.

After a blood-alcohol test, the results of which were not released, the officers arrested Hicks on the drunken-driving charge, according to court records.

Hicks had previously been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Whitley County in 2004, according to court documents.

On Friday, Hicks' two sisters spoke on his behalf.

Vonnie Falls said she called her brother every night while he was in rehab, which he entered after his arrest. She said Hicks "learned a lot" from the experience.

"I believe he means what he says in taking responsibility for his actions," Falls said.

Ronda Walters said that she drove her brother to rehab in Tennessee, and that afterward she spent the holidays with her brother for the first time since high school.

She said the experience was "eye-opening" for Hicks.

"He wouldn't have done those things sober," Walters said. "He's the most non-confrontational person I know."

Hicks is still going through some treatment, his lawyer told Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull during Friday's hearing, and he is still awaiting some progress reports on how his client is doing in that treatment.

Gull set Hicks' sentencing date for September.