(INDIANAPOLIS) – Three southern Indiana judges face disciplinary charges over an Indianapolis altercation which left two of them with gunshot wounds.
The Indiana Supreme Court’s Judicial Qualifications Commission accuses Clark Circuit Judges Andrew Adams and Brad Jacobs and Crawford Circuit Judge Sabrina Bell of being drunk when they got in a three a-m confrontation with two men in a White Castle parking lot, which escalated into a fistfight and ended when one of the men shot Adams and Jacobs.
The charges provide the first detailed picture of what led to the fight. The judges were in Indy for a judicial conference, and according to the charges had spent the night barhopping. They went to the Red Garter strip club in downtown Indy with a Clark County magistrate, but walked to the White Castle after finding it closed. While the magistrate was inside the restaurant, the commission says someone in an SUV yelled something at the judges, and Bell gave them the finger. That touched off a profanity-filled shouting match among all five of them.
The charges say Bell told police she got “mouthy,” and the other two judges were defending her, eventually advancing on Brandon Kaiser and his nephew Alfredo Vazquez. The commission says Jacobs eventually had Kaiser pinned on the ground, when Vazquez, who’d primarily been fighting Adams, pulled him off. The commission says when Kaiser started to set up, Adams came over and kicked him in the back. That’s when, according to the charges, Kaiser pulled a gun, shot Adams in the stomach, then went to where Jacobs and Vazquez were scuffling and shot Jacobs twice in the chest.
Adams pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor battery and received a suspended sentence, with prosecutors dismissing several felony charges. Kaiser and Vazquez are awaiting trial. No criminal charges were filed against Jacobs or Bell.
The disciplinary commission says all three judges failed their responsibility to “act at all times in a matter that promotes confidence in the judiciary,” both by being drunk and by provoking and continuing the confrontation. Adams faces a third disciplinary charge over his battery conviction.
The commission will conduct hearings, and can recommend discipline ranging from a private reprimand to removal from the bench. The five Supreme Court justices make the final decision.
Clark Circuit Judge Andrew Adams (Photo: Indiana Supreme Court)