The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended three judges without pay after their involvement in a May 1, 2019 shooting in downtown Indianapolis.
Judge Andrew Adams, Judge Sabrina Bell, and Judge Bradley Jacobs were involved in the shooting at a White Castle burger restaurant during a night in which all the judges were drunk.
NPR reports the three judges were in Indianapolis for a judicial conference on April 30, 2019, that evening the trio went to a bar and drank several alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication. As the early a.m. hours of May 1 approached, the judges decided to go to a strip club but weren't let in because it was closed.
It was then that the judges went to a White Castle restaurant where they got into an altercation with two men identified as Alfredo Vazquez, 23, and Brandon Kaiser, 41.
Judge Bell stuck her middle finger at Vazquez and Kaiser as they were driving their SUV nearby. Vazquez and Kaiser then parked their SUV and got out. Charging documents detail the judges moving toward Kaiser and Vazquez prior to the fight turning physical.
A heated argument ensues between Vazquez, Kaiser, and the judges. At that moment Vazquez and Judge Adams began punching and kicking one another, while Kaiser and Judge Jacobs wrestled one another on the ground.
Vazquez tried to get Judge Jacobs off of Kaiser, at which point Vazquez and Judge Jacobs began tussling. And as Kaiser began to sit up, Judge Adams kicked him in the back.
That is when Kaiser pulled out a gun and opened fire, shooting Judge Adams once in the abdomen and Judge Jacobs twice in the chest. The intoxicated Judge Bell then called 911. Vazquez and Kaiser then ran from the scene, but were arrested just days later and face felony aggravated battery charges.
Judge Adams and Judge Jacobs were rushed to different hospitals, where Adams underwent two emergency surgeries, including a colon resection. Judge Jacobs also underwent two surgeries and remained hospitalized for two weeks.
Judge Adams' serum blood alcohol level upon admission to the hospital was 0.213, or about 0.157 using whole blood. Judge Jacob's serum blood alcohol level was 0.177, or 0.13 using whole blood. Blood serum is the fluid left behind after blood coagulates, or clots.
The legal alcohol limit is 0.08.
Judge Bell's blood alcohol content was not tested, but she admitted to being drunk and said:
"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"
Judge Adams pleaded guilty to battery resulting in bodily injury and had his sentence suspended. Judge Jacobs was not criminally charged. Judge Bell was not charged either.
However, The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed disciplinary charges against all three judges in October 2019 for violating the code of conduct. Documents say all three judges acknowledged their misconduct, "damaged the public's respect for and confidence in the integrity of the Indiana judiciary."
The judges broke the following official judicial rules:
Rule 1.2, requiring judges to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity, independence, and impartiality of the judiciary
Rule 3.1(C), prohibiting judges from participating in extrajudicial activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s integrity, independence, or impartiality.
In the decision by the Indiana Supreme Court, Adams, judge of the Clark County Circuit Court 1, will be suspended without pay for 60 days, effective immediately. Adams will then be reinstated to office at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020.
Jacobs, judge of the Clark Circuit Court 2, will be suspended without pay for 30 days beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, and will be reinstated to office at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 23.
Bell, judge of the Crawford Circuit Court, is to be suspended without pay for 30 days, also beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, and will be reinstated at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 23.