Three US judges have been suspended after a boozy altercation resulted in two of them getting shot.
Indiana judges Andrew Adams, Bradley Jacobs and Sabrina Bell were attending a judicial conference in May. The night before the event they went bar-hopping in downtown Indianapolis. At around 3am the trio had indulged in a skinful and headed to a White Castle burger restaurant. They were standing outside the fast-food chain when a stranger, Alfredo Vasquez, drove past with a passenger Brandon Kaiser. One of them yelled something out of the car window at the judges, to which an inebriated Bell responded by flicking the middle finger. Vasquez pulled over.
According to court documents, rather than de-escalating the situation, judges Adams and Jacobs engaged in a sweary and heated exchange with the two strangers. The drunken conversation turned into a scrap between the four men, as they started hitting and kicking each other. And eventually ended up rolling on the ground, wrestling. At one point, Jacobs pinned Kaiser to the ground, and with his fist raised said "we're done". However, the fight continued and Adams kicked Kaiser in the back, at which point Kaiser pulled out a gun and shot Adams in the stomach and then fired two shots at Jacobs in the chest. Kaiser and Vasquez then fled the scene.
Bell was unharmed. When police arrived, she said to them, "I’m not denying that I said something or egged it on, because I drink". She also told officers "I fully acknowledge that I drink and get mouthy, and I’m fiery and I’m feisty". She later claimed to have no memory of the altercation, or making a statement to police.
A judge prepares for a judicial conference. How it might have looked.
The two male judges needed to have emergency operations. Adams' gunshot wound to the abdomen resulted in him requiring a colon re-sectioning, while Jacobs was hospitalised for 14 days.
As well as receiving Get Well cards, the judges were summoned before the Indiana Supreme Court. It was found that all three judges had engaged in "judicial misconduct" as their intoxicated state in public and the altercation amounted to "behaving in an injudicious manner". The court said that the actions of all three judges were embarrassing on a personal level and also discredited the entire Indiana judiciary.
The judges expressed remorse and apologised to the court. Adams pleaded guilty to a battery charge in relation to the scrap and received a one-year suspended sentence. The court also slapped him with a 60 day suspension. Jacobs and Bell were not charged but will serve 30-day suspensions.
Vasquez and Kaiser were caught and charged. Vasquez was sentenced to home detention. Kaiser will face a judge again when he appears in court next year for the shooting.