INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Judicial officials filed disciplinary charges Friday against three southern Indiana judges involved in a night of bar-hopping that ended with two of them being shot and seriously wounded during a fight outside a downtown Indianapolis fast-food restaurant.
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications announced misconduct charges against Circuit Judges Andrew Adams and Bradley Jacobs, of Clark County, and Sabrina Bell, of Crawford County, over the May 1 altercation outside a White Castle. Adams and Jacobs were shot.
Court records indicate the altercation began after one of two men in a SUV yelled something at the judges, and Bell extended a middle finger at the two.
Adams and Jacobs were hospitalized for several days after the shooting. Authorities have said they don’t believe the judges were targeted because of their jobs.
The commission said Bell told police: “I’m not denying that I said something or egged it on . because I drink . I mean I fully acknowledge that I drink and get mouthy, and I’m fiery and I’m feisty, but if I would have ever thought for a second that they were gonna fight or that that guy had a gun on him, I would never, never .”
The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Adams with pay after he was indicted in June. Adams pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge and received a one-year suspended sentence.
Jacobs wasn’t charged and has returned to the bench in the county across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Crawford County also borders the river.
The alleged gunman, Brandon Kaiser, faces several charges including felony aggravated battery, battery with a deadly weapon and other crimes. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The altercation occurred about 3 a.m. on the opening day of a conference the judges were in town to attend.
Each judge has 20 days to answer the charges. Jacobs and Bell each are charged with two counts each of misconduct and Adams faces three counts.
The Indiana Supreme Court has the final word on whether misconduct occurred and any sanctions.
(This story was originally published on October 11, 2019)