INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Clark County Judge Andrew Adams has now been suspended with pay after being charged with seven criminal charges, including two felonies.
The action stems from an incident last month in downtown Indianapolis, where Adams and Judge Brad Jacobs were shot in the parking lot of a White Castle.
Not only is Adams facing legal charges, but he also has to deal with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which has the power to suspend or even remove a judge from office.
"If convicted of a felony, he would likely be removed from office,” said attorney Patrick Olmstead.
Olmstead is an ethics attorney out of Greenwood. He represents attorneys and judges in both legal and disciplinary hearings, but he says this case is different.
“Yeah this is just really unusual," Olmstead said of the case. "The run of the mill issue is a judge has a DUI, those happen with regularity. I don't recall a situation where a judge has gotten into a fight and then it ends with criminal charges and one of them getting suspended.”
According to the judiciary disciplinary hearings section of the Indiana Rules of Court, whenever a judge is charged with a felony, they "shall be suspended with pay by the Supreme Court without the necessity of action by the Commission."
"If a judge is charged with a felony, they are suspended with pay, there are no 'if' 'ands' or 'buts,'" Olmstead said. "An attorney can have an interim suspension sought, but it's not automatic. It is for judges.”
A felony conviction or "willful misconduct unrelated to the judicial office that brings such office into disrepute" are both grounds for further punishment, which could mean removal.
“Judges are certainly held to a higher standard than even other lawyers, and lawyers are held to a higher standard even than a regular person," Olmstead said.
So far, Adams is the only judge being charged from this incident, but Olmstead says that doesn’t mean Judge Jacobs is for sure in the clear. Depending if more evidence comes out, he too could face discipline.
"I think that’s going to depend on what evidence comes out," Olmstead said when asked whether he believes Jacobs could also face disciplinary action. "You don't have to be charged with a crime to face discipline from the Judicial Qualifications Commission, so I'm sure he has to be worried about that.”
Olmstead says the commission usually waits for the legal process to play out before taking any disciplinary action of their own.