CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ind. — A southern Indiana judge who was involved in an Indianapolis shooting in 2019 continues to be mired in controversy.
Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell was arrested Thursday on a Level 6 felony charge of domestic battery in the presence of a child.
According to court documents, Bell is alleged to have struck her ex-husband in the presence of their children, ages 12 and 8. Police were called to Bell’s home in Crawford County on April 12 at around 5 p.m. Bell’s ex-husband told deputies he had arrived to pick up their children for his scheduled visit when Bell started a verbal argument with him that ended with her striking him in the face. Deputies advised marks were still visible on the man’s face at the time of the report.
According to the documents, Bell’s children witnessed the battery and confirmed it to authorities. Bell declined to make any statements regarding the matter, police said.
State police said a special investigations team presented their findings to a special judge who found that enough probable cause existed for a warrant to be issued for Bell’s arrest. The Floyd County Prosecutor has been assigned as the special prosecutor on the case, according to authorities.
The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Bell with pay, in accordance with the Indiana Rules of Court, and her charges were filed. The suspension will remain in effect until further order of the court or final determination of any disciplinary proceedings that may arise from her criminal charges, the court said.
This is not the first time Bell has gone from sitting on the bench to standing before it. In 2019, Bell was one of three out-of-town judges who visited Indianapolis and became involved in a shooting outside a downtown White Castle on May 1, 2019. The three judges had been reportedly out drinking and tried to go to a gentleman’s club but found it closed. They then went to a White Castle on South Street where they got into an altercation with two men that led to gunfire.
Bell continued to serve as Crawford County Circuit Court Judge despite the incident and had originally planned on running for reelection in 2022’s primary election. On April 20, however, Bell made a Facebook post stating she was suspending her campaign for reelection after word spread of her being at the center of a new police investigation.
The Crawford County Republican Party echoed her decision with a statement saying, “We wish Judge Sabrina Bell the best as she spends time focusing on her family and health. As she recently announced, she is suspending her campaign and is no longer seeking the Republican nomination for Judge.”
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Bell said, “My time will come friends and I will share with you everything. I have nothing to hide and no reason to hold back any longer. I’m looking forward to speaking my truth and being able to heal from it and being free.”
Bell’s Facebook account has since been deleted.
State police said Bell was booked into the Crawford County Jail on Thursday and has since been released on pre-trial conditions.
Despite Bell and the Republican party saying she was stepping down from the election race, Bell remained on the ballot for Crawford County Circuit Court Judge and had 191 people vote for her. She lost in the primary, however, to Justin Mills who won 81 percent of the vote.
Bell has served as Crawford County Circuit Court Judge since Jan. 1, 2017.