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3 Indiana Judges Facing Ethics Charges for White Castle Brawl

two toddlers fighting on playground sand
By Andrew Leonatti on October 24, 2019

According to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct, judges in the Hoosier State will "act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety."

So, does that include starting a drunken brawl outside a White Castle in the middle of the night? That's for the Judicial Qualifications Commission and Indiana Supreme Court to determine.

It's Always During a Conference

You're away from home, work (kind of), and daily responsibilities. You're staying in a hotel. Who among us hasn't had a little too much fun at a work conference?

But Clark County Circuit Court Judges Andrew Adams and Bradley Jacobs and Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell allegedly came right up to that line and just kept going.

According to the police report, after a long night of bar hopping in downtown Indianapolis, the three judges attempted to enter an, ahem, "gentlemen's club" that was closed. They then went to a nearby White Castle.

While outside the "burger" joint, two men in a passing vehicle allegedly yelled something at the judges, which led to Bell responding with a raised middle finger. The vehicle stopped, the men got out, and a brawl ensued.

It ended with Adams shot in the stomach and Jacobs shot twice in the chest. Both spent time in the hospital and recovered.

Charges All Around

The gunman and his friend face a boatload of felony and misdemeanor charges. Adams has already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery.

All three judges, however, are all charged by the Judicial Qualifications Commission with multiple counts of misconduct, because "at no time did Bell, Adams or Jacobs attempt to move to another location to avoid further confrontation."

The night of the fight, 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 best and the brightest, indeed. Public officials charged with protecting the rights of everyday people need to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. At the very least, that should include not starting a drunken brawl outside of a White Castle in the middle of the night.

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