CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – A 40-year-old southern Indiana judge already mired in controversy is now facing a felony domestic battery charge for hitting her ex-husband in his face in front of their children.

She’s also been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court, though with pay.

Sabrina Bell, the Crawford County Circuit Court judge, has been charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child less than 16 years old, according to an Indiana State Police media release. It’s a Level 6 felony, the lowest level felony in the state.

Bell was booked into Crawford County Jail on Thursday and has since been released on pre-trial conditions, according to police.

Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies were called Bell’s home at about 5 p.m. on April 12, according to newly released Crawford Circuit Court documents.

There, Bell’s ex-husband told them he was at the home to pick up the couple’s three children for a scheduled visit that evening. Bell is accused of starting a verbal argument in front of the children, which ended with her striking her ex on the left side of his face in the neck and cheek area, according to court documents.

Deputies observed marks on the left side of the man’s face that seemed to substantiate his claim.

Bell declined to speak to officers. Interviews conducted by the Indiana Department of Child Services confirmed the battery happened in front of two children, ages 12 and 8, court documents said.

The suspension issued by the supreme court will remain in effect until further notice or until a disciplinary panel made up of seven other judges looks into the matter, according to an Indiana Supreme Court release.

Previously, Bell was one of three judges involved in a shooting outside a downtown Indianapolis White Castle on May 1, 2019.

In that incident, Bell had been out drinking with two judges from Clark County and decided to go to the Red Garter Gentlemen’s Club in downtown Indianapolis at around 3 a.m. After finding the club closed, the judges walked to a nearby White Castle on South Street.

A southern Indiana judge mired in controversy is arrested.
Sabrina Bell

Documents state that Bell was intoxicated at the time and flipped off two men in an SUV who reportedly yelled something while driving past.

Two men — Alfredo Vazquez and Brandon Kaiser — exited the SUV and a physical altercation ensued with two of the judges being shot by Kaiser. Court documents show Bell never attempted to de-escalate the conflict and instead assisted in provoking the men.

The other judges involved in the incident were Andrew Adams and Bradley Jacobs. Bell was suspended after the incident. Adams pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.

All three judges were charged with misconduct. Kaiser was charged with multiple felonies for the shooting.

In April, news about another incident involving Bell and law enforcement began to leak. No details were released, other than Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies were involved as well as a special prosecutor. Eventually, Indiana State Police were called in to help investigate.

Shortly afterwards, Bell announced on Facebook she would not seek reelection for her position.