IN Supreme Court ends suspension of former Crawford Co. judge following her resignation

The Indiana Supreme Court has terminated the suspension of now-former Crawford Circuit Court Judge Sabrina R. Bell after she recently resigned from her position and agreed to not hold judicial office ever again.

In a Tuesday order, the Supreme Court deemed Bell’s suspension moot after the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed a notice of closure and request to terminate suspension after Bell signed a joint “Stipulation and Agreement for Resolution of Investigation.”

The agreement indicated Bell had resigned from judicial office effective July 15 and affirmed she would not seek or accept judicial office or perform judicial duties in the future. Additionally, Bell agreed to relinquish her law license for 150 days and will need to retake and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination prior to resuming active status.

If Bell violates any of the terms of the agreement, the JQC will revive its investigation and the matter will proceed.

Bell’s resignation and discipline stem from an April 12 incident, which resulted in her arrest for Level 6 felony domestic battery in the presence of a child. A probable cause affidavit alleges Bell hit Douglas A. Goerss, her ex-husband who is a practicing lawyer in the Perry County Prosecutor’s Office, during a dispute at her home when Goerss was there to pick up their three children for a scheduled visit.

Bell, first elected in 2016, announced on April 20 via Facebook that she was ending her reelection campaign and was “stepping down” from the bench.

She was charged May 12 and suspended by the Supreme Court the same day.

Floyd County Prosecutor Chris Lane is the assigned special prosecutor for the domestic violence case, State of Indiana v. Sabrina R. Bell, 13C01-2205-F6-000039. Attorney Amie Sue Newlon of Corydon is representing Bell.

Bell has been disciplined by the Supreme Court in the past for her conduct.

In May 2019, she was one of three southern Indiana judges involved in an early-morning altercation at a White Castle restaurant in Indianapolis that led to two of the judges being shot.

As a result of the incident, Bell and Clark Circuit Court 2 Judge Bradley Jacobs were suspended for 30 days without pay for their roles in the shooting.

Former Clark Circuit Court 1 Judge Andrew Adams, who was also involved, was suspended for 60 days without pay and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery. He was sentenced to one year, all suspended to probation.

Judge Harris L. Whitis is currently serving as judge pro tempore of the Crawford Circuit Court.

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