United States v. Mitchell, No. 11-3656 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Mitchell was a partner in the Cleveland law firm from the early 1980s until 2006. There was no formal partnership agreement; each partner practiced in a different area of law, and each represented his clients with essentially no oversight, but shared evenly in the firm's profits. Mitchell was indicted for his involvement in a long-running scheme to bribe the auditor of Cuyahoga County into awarding overvalued contracts for appraisal work to a company formed by his law partners. The indictment charged conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, 18 U.S.C. 371; bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(2); and conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951. The district court granted Mitchell acquittal on the Hobbs Act charge, but a jury convicted him of the remaining two counts. He was sentenced to 97 months. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the jury instruction that deliberate ignorance, in some instances, can constitute knowledge, and a challenge to the sentence.