On Friday, October 28, 2022, the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio filed charges for attorney discipline against Warren attorney Joseph Michael Bell, Esq. alleging misconduct.

The case, titled Disciplinary Counsel v. Joseph Michael Bell, Esq., is filed before the Board of Professional Conduct under case no. 2022-043.

The charges cited violations of Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(h), which state:

prohibiting a lawyer from committing an illegal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty or trustworthiness

prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law

The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The following are as alleged and summarized from the Complaint:

Respondent was an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor within the Child Support Unit in the Juvenile Division. The respondent engaged in misconduct by his indictment on November 18, 2021, to one count of Importuning, a fifth-degree felony. In addition, respondent had pleaded guilty to one count of Unlawful Use of a Telecommunication Device on May 19, 2022.

The Complaint states:

“On July 30, 2021, while at work, respondent visited a website that primarily hosts the profile of sex workers on his personal phone.

At 10:27 a.m. that same day, respondent sent a text message to a phone number he obtained from a profile on the website.

The Complaint continues:

“Respondent believed he was texting a female sex worker.

Instead, respondent was texting an undercover officer with the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force.”

The Complaint further alleges:

“The conversation ended without making plans to meet. Respondent told the undercover officer that since she was fifteen, that was too young for him to do “anything besides talk.”

The Complaint additionally notes:

“On August 20, 2021, respondent was arrested in this office in the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. He was simultaneously informed that he was terminated from the Prosecutor’s Office.”

With the foregoing facts and the Respondent’s unethical conduct, the Disciplinary counsel requests that respondent be found in violation of the above-cited rules of professional conduct and be sanctioned accordingly.

Mr. Joseph Michael Bell has been licensed in Ohio, license no. 009656000.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.