CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ind. — A southern Indiana judge whose career has been mired in controversy has resigned as circuit court judge and agreed to never seek nor accept a judicial office within the state of Indiana for the rest of her life.
The resignation comes as part of an agreement with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications who opened an investigation into former Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell following her suspension in May after being charged with one count of domestic battery in the presence of a child, a Level 6 felony.
According to the agreement, Bell also voluntarily relinquished her law license for at least 150 days in addition to her resignation and agreeing to never again serve in Indiana as a judicial officer.
Court documents revealed that Bell is alleged to have struck her ex-husband on April 12 in the presence of their two children, ages 12 and 8. Bell’s ex-husband told police he had arrived at Bell’s home to pick up their children for a scheduled visit when Bell started a verbal argument and struck the victim across his face.
Due to Bell being a circuit court judge in Crawford County at the time of the incident, a special prosecutor was assigned to the case and a special judge ordered a warrant for Bell’s arrest.
Bell’s history of controversy stretches past the domestic battery, however, to May 1, 2019, when Bell was one of three out-of-town judges who visited Indianapolis and became involved in a shooting outside a downtown White Castle.
Court documents revealed that Bell and the two other judges had been drunk and tried to go to a strip club at 3 a.m., found it was closed, and walked to a nearby White Castle where Bell extended her middle finger to two men who reportedly shouted something out the window as they passed. A verbal altercation ensued with all participants yelling profanities and making “mocking or insolent gestures” toward each other, the documents reveal.
Bell then reportedly got into a physical confrontation with Alfredo Vazquez, one of the two men the judges were in an altercation with. The two other judges reportedly were fighting with the second man, Brandon Kaiser, who ended up pulling out a gun and shooting Judge Andrew Adams and Judge Bradly Jacobs.
Bell later claimed to be too intoxicated to recall the event or to recall extending her middle finger at the men, though surveillance footage captured the incident, documents state.
Recorded statements by Bell to police after the incident include her saying, “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.”
Prior to her May suspension, Bell had been running for reelection in the 2022 primary election. On April 20, Bell made a Facebook post — which she later deleted — saying she was suspending her campaign.
Bell was still on the Republican party primary ballot, however, and earned 191 votes. She lost in the primary, however, to Justin Mills who won 81 percent of the vote.
Bell was elected as Crawford County Circuit Court Judge in November 2016.