Judges in White Castle Brawl Suspended Without Pay

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Judges in White Castle Brawl Suspended Without Pay

Judge who pleaded guilty to battery will be off bench until mid-January; two others suspended for a month apiece

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Three southern Indiana judges have been suspended without pay for a brawl outside an Indianapolis White Castle which ended with two of them shot.

The Indiana Supreme Court says the judges "discredited the entire judiciary" by getting in a drunken street fight during a state judicial conference. Crawford Circuit Judge Sabrina Bell and Clark Circuit Judge Brad Jacobs have been suspended for a month, starting next Friday. Clark Circuit Judge Andrew Adams, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, is off the bench for two months, effective immediately. He'd been on a paid suspension since his indictment nearly five months ago, an automatic step under Indiana disciplinary rules.

The Indiana Disciplinary Commission reports the judges had walked to the White Castle after 3 a.m. after finding a nearby strip club closed. The trouble began when Bell gave the finger to two men driving past. The men got out of their pickup, and a shouting match escalated to a fistfight among Adams, Jacobs, and the two men. It ended when one of the men pulled a gun and shot Adams and Jacobs.

The Supreme Court says Adams and Jacobs were drunk, and while Bell wasn't tested, she was too drunk to remember the evening's events, even after seeing a surveillance video. And the court notes the judges failed to de-escalate the confrontation when they had the chance. The court calls the lengthy suspensions the most serious discipline a judge can receive short of removal from the bench.

In imposing the suspensions, the court says the judges do get some credit for expressing remorse for the incident and seeking counseling, and for their clean past histories. The justices also note Adams and Crawford endured recovery from their gunshot wounds, and that Bell, after setting the events in motion, tried unsuccessfully to break up the fight, and immediately called 911 after the shots were fired.

Bell is up for reelection next year. Adams' and Jacobs' terms run through 2022.

Clark Circuit Judge Andrew Adams (Photo: Indiana Supreme Court)
 

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