Indiana Supreme Court Suspends 3 Judges Over Late-Night Brawl

By Victor Westerkamp

Three Indiana judges who got into a nighttime brawl on May 1 that ended with two of them being shot has resulted in all three suspended without pay, and one criminally charged.

On April 30, judges Andrew Adams, Bradley Jacobs, and Sabrina Bell drove to Indianapolis for a conference the next day, but instead of going to a conference, two ended up at a hospital and one in jail.

According to the the Indianapolis Star, the three went out that evening for drinks. At about 3 a.m., while highly intoxicated, they tried to get into a downtown strip-club, which turned out to be closed. Then they went to the nearby White Castle restaurant, where they stood outside in the parking lot.

Judges Andrew Adams, Sabrina Bell and Bradley Jacobs were censured by the Indiana Supreme Court for their roles in a brawl outside a White Castle on May 1. (Indiana Supreme Court)Two men, Brendon Kaiser and Alfredo Vazquez, drove past and one of them shouted something unpleasant toward the three, whereupon Bell raised her middle finger back at them.

Shortly after, Kaiser and Vazquez got out of the car and approached the group and an altercation ensued. Things quickly turned violent, with Kaiser eventually pulling out a gun and shooting Adams once in the stomach and Jacobs twice in the chest, injuring them both seriously but not fatally.

When police arrived, Kaiser and Vazquez had fled the scene and Bell “was intoxicated enough that she lacks any memory of the incident,” the opinion said.

Kaiser Vazquez
Brandon Kaiser, left, and Alfredo Vazquez were arrested in connection to the shooting of two men at Indianapolis White Castle on May 1, 2019 (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department)

The wounded judges were taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. Adams had to stay hospitalized for two weeks.

The court ruled that the three judges had “engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.” Adams and Jacobs engaged in further judicial misconduct “by becoming involved in a physical altercation for which Judge Adams was criminally charged and convicted.”

The Opinion said the judges failed to “aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence.”

Upon release, Bell and Jacobs were suspended without pay for 30 days and Adams for 60 days. On top of that, Adams was sentenced to 365 days in jail, but only had to serve two of them.

In a statement provided by his attorney that on May 1, Adams said “I failed to behave in a manner that my position requires,” the Star reported. “I am fully aware of the embarrassment I have brought to the Indiana Judiciary, my family and specifically my community. There is not a minute in the day that I don’t think about the significant repercussions my actions have caused. I take full responsibility for my actions as they neither met my expectations or the expectations placed upon me as a judicial office.”

Kaiser is scheduled to appear in court on 14 of charges including aggravated battery.