Discipline charges filed against 3 Indiana judges for fight that led to shootings

Indiana
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INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — Three Indiana judges could face discipline by the court for their roles in a May incident in Indianapolis that left two of them with gunshot wounds.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has charged Clark Circuit Court 1 Judge Andrew Adams and Clark Circuit Court 2 Judge Bradley Jacobs, along with Crawford Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell, with violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Jacobs and Adams were shot during an altercation in the parking lot of an Indianapolis White Castle around 3:30 a.m. May 1. Indianapolis Police said an argument began in the parking lot that led to the shootings.

Indianapolis Police investigate a shooting outside a White Castle on May 1, 2019.

Adams and Jacobs were hospitalized for several days after the incident.

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.

A grand jury indicted Adams for his role after prosecutors said he admitted kicking Kaiser during the altercation. He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor battery count and was handed a one-year suspended sentence with no additional time in jail. Jacobs wasn’t charged in the confrontation and has returned to the bench in the county just north of Louisville, Kentucky.

Bell, who was with Adams and Jacobs during the incident, was not hurt.

Authorities have said they don’t believe the two judges were targeted because of their jobs. They had been attending a judicial conference in Indiana’s capital.

Here are the charges brought down by the 7-member Commission on Judicial Qualifications:

  • Judge Adams is charged with three counts of misconduct (19S-JD-386) alleging he violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires him to act in a manner at all times that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; to not engage in extrajudicial activity that undermines a judge’s integrity; and to comply with the law.
  • Judge Bell is charged with two counts of misconduct (19S-JD-567) alleging she violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires her to act in a manner at all times that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; and to not engage in extrajudicial activity that undermines a judge’s integrity.
  • Judge Jacobs is charged with two counts of misconduct (19S-JD-566) alleging he violated the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires him to act in a manner at all times that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; and to not engage in extrajudicial activity that undermines a judge’s integrity.

The Justices of the Supreme Court have final authority to determine what, if any, judicial misconduct occurred. The Court can dismiss the charges, accept or reject a disciplinary agreement between the Commission and each of the judges, appoint a panel of judges to conduct a public hearing, impose a fine, impose sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a suspension to a permanent ban on holding judicial office in Indiana.

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Adams with pay after he was indicted in June.

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