CRAWFORD CO. – The Indiana Supreme Court has imposed an interim suspension on Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell of Crawford County, effective immediately. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed a “Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension” and “Exhibit A” with the Indiana Supreme Court.
The Notice, case number 22S-JD-148, was filed by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications when the Commission learned a prosecutor had filed Level 6 Felony charges against Judge Bell. According to Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A) of the Indiana Rules of Court, “A judicial officer shall be suspended with pay by the Supreme Court…upon the filing of an indictment or information charging the judicial officer in any court in the United States with a crime punishable as a felony under the laws of Indiana or the United States.”
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.
Bell was arrested Thursday, after an Indiana State Police investigation stemming from an incident that occurred in Crawford County on April 12, 2022.
After completing a thorough investigation into the incident, 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 the arrest of Bell on a Level 6 Felony charge of domestic battery in the presence of a child less than 16 years old.
Bell was booked into the Crawford County Jail and has since been released on pre-trial conditions.
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.