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Lawyer hit with DWI, gun charges at tavern

Hicks

A local public defense attorney was arrested Friday evening outside a bar, charged with two misdemeanors, including carrying a handgun without a license.

Mitchell W. Hicks, 55, of the 400 block of Union Station Drive, was arrested about 9:40 p.m. outside the Hitchin Post tavern, 1026 High St. He is charged with carrying a handgun without a license and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

According to police reports and court documents, police were called to the bar after a report of a disturbance involving a person with a weapon. When they arrived, they met with Condon Powers and a woman who said another man, later identified as Hicks, was armed with a weapon inside a vehicle.

Officers ordered Hicks out of his car and found a .38-caliber Accu-Tek 380 handgun, with five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber and the safety off. As the officer ordered him to the ground, Hicks told the police he did not have a permit for the gun, adding he did not point the gun at Powers and the woman at the bar, according to court documents.

Powers told police Hicks recently represented him in a criminal case but had lost. Powers told police he thought Hicks may have been angry with him for having lodged an official complaint against him, according to the police report.

On Thursday, Powers was given a three-year suspended prison sentence for criminal recklessness causing injury. He was convicted of the charge in July, accused of pushing his ex-girlfriend down a hill and then heaving a metal dining chair at her. She suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, according to court documents.

After putting Hicks in a squad car, patrol officers called detectives to the scene. The detectives said they would conduct an investigation into the handgun but were not taking Hicks into custody at that time, so police let Hicks out of the squad car.

Officers then gave Hicks a portable breath test to see whether he was sober enough to drive home, and the result of that test prompted officers to take Hicks to the Allen County Lockup to conduct a chemical breath test.

According to court documents, Hicks told police he began drinking about 3:30 p.m. and continued until 7 p.m. He said he had no idea how much he had had to drink, and police reported he was unsteady on his feet, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, according to court documents.

Hicks was convicted in Whitley County in 2004 of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, according to court documents. He is a lawyer in good standing with the state of Indiana, according to records with the Indiana Supreme Court.

While he maintains a private legal practice, Hicks also works as an Allen County defense attorney.

Chief Public Defender Randall Hammond said he is currently gathering information to make an informed decision about Hicks’ status with the office.

Hicks appeared in court Tuesday morning for an initial hearing in his own case and to handle clients’ cases. His driver’s license has been suspended, according to court records. A message left for Hicks was not returned Tuesday afternoon.

rgreen@jg.net

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