by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
That’s what the Indiana Supreme Court said about three lower court judges who were involved in a brawl at an Indianapolis White Castle last spring. The South Bend Tribune has the story:
Three Indiana judges … have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct.
In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell “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’ blood-alcohol level was approximately 0.157 upon admission to the hospital, and Jacobs’ was approximately 0.13, according to the opinion. Bell’s blood alcohol level was not tested, “but she was intoxicated enough that she lacks any memory of the incident,” per the opinion. …
All three judges received suspensions but will eventually return to their offices. …
“Respondents’ actions were not merely embarrassing on a personal level; they discredited the entire Indiana judiciary,” the court said in the opinion. …
The judges traveled to Indianapolis on April 30 to attend a judicial conference the next day. Around 3 a.m. May 1, the judges, along with a magistrate who was not involved in the fight, tried to enter the Red Garter Gentleman’s Club in Downtown, but it was closed.
They went to the nearby White Castle at 55 W. South St. instead.
Adams, Jacobs and Bell were standing outside the restaurant when Alfredo Vazquez and Brandon Kaiser drove past the trio in a blue SUV. According to charging documents from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, either Kaiser or Vazquez yelled something out the window, which prompted Bell to give the middle finger to the men. …
Vazquez, according to the charges, parked his SUV. After he and Kaiser exited the vehicle, a verbal altercation ensued, court documents said. It then turned violent when Adams and Jacobs moved toward Vazquez and Kaiser, the commission said.
Adams and Vazquez both hit and kicked each other, according to court documents, while Jacobs and Kaiser mostly wrestled on the ground. “At one point, Judge Jacobs was on top of Kaiser and had him contained on the ground,” the charging documents said.
Vazquez then tried to get Jacobs off of Kaiser, the commission said. As Jacobs began to get up, Vazquez started fighting him, court documents said.
After Kaiser began to sit up, Adams kicked him in the back, the commission said. Kaiser then pulled out a gun and shot Adams in the stomach, according to court documents. The commission says Kaiser then “went over to Judge Jacobs and Vazquez and fired two more shots at Judge Jacobs in the chest.”
Kaiser and Vazquez then allegedly fled the scene.
Makes you wonder about the judicial conference they were attending, but, all in all, I’m impressed with the fighting spirit of those Indiana Judges.