Neville O. Mitchell was born on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica. He was raised by his mother, Rosetta Hooker- a Nurse’s aide, his late father David Mitchell- a Police Officer, and his beloved late Grandmother Agatha Mitchell. He attended the prestigious Kingston College, a high school for boys. In 1977 he emigrated to the US with his brother to join their mother who had previously gone to America in search of a better life for her children. He lived in the Northeast Bronx from the age of 16.
He started his education at the Bronx High School of Science and in 1982 he entered the City College of New York in Harlem. He had the privilege to be taught and mentored by Professor David Garrow, author of “Bearing the Cross” a book about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the late Professor Haywood Burns, Dean of the Urban Legal Studies Program at City College and the first Dean of the Queens School of Law at The City University. They both encouraged him to pursue his interest in law.
While at City College, he was a vigorous student advocate, serving as president of the Caribbean Students’ Association, Director of the Legal Center and ultimately Student Ombudsman. Other influences in Mr. Mitchell’s education included Professor Edward Scobie and James Smalls, all of the African American Studies Department. He graduated Cum Laude in 1987 with a Liberal Arts degree majoring in Speech Communications. Three years later he graduated from University of Maryland School of Law at Baltimore.
After graduation he immediately returned to New York and in 1991 was admitted to the bar. Mr. Mitchell began his legal career as a staff Attorney in the Judgment Enforcement Unit in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development of the City of New York (D.H.P.D). In that capacity, he enforced judgments obtained against landlords who failed to maintain their apartment buildings up to Code or provide heat and hot water to their tenants. He later transferred to the Housing Litigation Bureau. As a staff attorney he sued landlords who failed to provide services to their tenants.
In 1994 Mr. Mitchell resigned his position with D.H.P.D and hung out a shingle as a solo legal practitioner, opening an office in Bronx County. He practiced in the areas of Housing and Criminal law. In 1999 he moved his practice to New York County. Since then he has practiced almost exclusively as a Criminal Defense Attorney. He has handled thousands of cases. He was honored to represent the parents of the late Sean Bell – the groom killed by New York City Police Officers on the eve of his wedding in the fall of 2006. And more recently the family of Ramarley Graham, the Bronx teen gunned down in his bathroom boy police officers who chased him into his home.
Mr. Mitchell is a strong advocate of Education as a vital component of success in our life journey. Between 1999 and 2001 he worked as a teacher for the Board of Education. He initially worked as a substitute teacher at E.B.C. East New York, an alternative School in Brooklyn. Later he taught at Riker’s Island at Horizon Academy. His students were incarcerated young people who were awaiting trial. The instruction prepared them for the General Equivalency Diploma Test. He served as the site coordinator at the Otis Bantum Correctional Facility.
Throughout his higher education and legal career, Mr. Mitchell has mentored innumerable young people. While in law school, he helped found a tutoring and mentoring program at Booker T. Washington Middle school in Baltimore. In his practice he has mentored youth in the summer through internships at his office.
He is a guest commentator on legal issues on a community based radio program on 93.5. He has had a number of articles published in the Black Star News. He has also written an opinion piece for the Amsterdam News. Mr. Mitchell is or has been a member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the New York State Bar Association, the Criminal Bar Association of the City of New York, the Bronx County Bar Association and the New York County Lawyer’s Association. He was a founding member of the now inactive Caribbean American Legal Defense and Education Fund.