Crawford Judge Suspended; Released After Arrest

Crawford Judge Suspended; Released After Arrest

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A Crawford County Judge who was arrested on Thursday has been released on her own recognizance and also suspended with pay by the Indiana Supreme Court. 

Sabrina Bell, Crawford County Circuit Court Judge, was arrested and booked into the Crawford County Jail as a result of an Indiana State Police investigation. 

These charges stemmed from an incident that occurred in Crawford County on April 12, 2022. 

Special Prosecutor Chris Lane filed information yesterday with the Indiana Supreme Court, who suspended her with pay until further notice. 

After completing a thorough investigation into the incident with Bell, Detectives from the Indiana State Police Special Investigations Section presented an affidavit to a Special Judge assigned to the case who found that probable cause existed for her arrest on a Level 6 Felony Charge of Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Child Less than 16 Years Old.

An initial hearing was set for 1p yesterday at Dubois Circuit Court. 

According to court documents, Bell is alleged to have struck her ex-husband on the face in the presence of 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.

Bell was to have run for re-election in the May Primary but on April 20, Bell made a Facebook post stating she was suspending her campaign for reelection.

The Crawford County Republican Party issued 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.”

According to the Indiana Supreme Court, a senior judge is currently managing cases in Crawford County.

On April 13, the District 24 Chief Judge named a senior judge to handle cases due to Bell being “unavailable.”

After reviewing the request, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Judge Bell suspended with pay, as required by Supreme Court rule.

Judge Bell’s interim suspension remains in effect until further order of the Court or final determination of any disciplinary proceedings, if any, that may arise from the criminal charges.

The Commission on Judicial Qualifications is the 7-member group that investigates alleged ethical misconduct by judges. Chief Justice Loretta Rush chairs the Commission. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over judicial discipline.