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Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell arrested, suspended

Late in April, Bell, who was aiming to keep her position as Crawford County Circuit Court judge, withdrew from the Indiana primary election.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 2:08 PM EDT
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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) - Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Sabrina Bell is facing a felony domestic violence charge after being involved in an alleged physical altercation that happened in April in Crawford County.

Following a lengthy investigation, Indiana State Police investigators submitted an affidavit to a judge, who determined probable cause for Bell’s arrest on felony domestic battery in the presence of a child following the alleged incident on April 12.

According to a probable cause affidavit, sheriff’s deputies were called to Bell’s home and spoke to Bell’s ex-husband, who claimed he was there to pick up their three kids for a scheduled visit.

Police were told Bell started an argument with her ex-husband in front of their children, leading to Bell hitting him in the left side of the face with her hand, documents state.

Interviews conducted by the Indiana Department of Child Services with two of the children, 8 and 12 years old, revealed they had witnessed the incident of their father being hit by Bell.

Bell was booked into the Crawford County Jail and released under pre-trial conditions. There was no additional information provided about the case by ISP.

On Thursday afternoon, the Indiana Supreme Court imposed a suspension on Bell with pay effective immediately.

The notice was filed by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications after learning level 6 felony charges had been filed against Bell, Indiana courts verified. The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the suspension following a review.

Bell’s suspension will remain in effect until further notice or final ruling on any disciplinary hearings if they arise from criminal charges.

A senior judge is currently handling cases in Crawford County. The senior judge had been named to handle cases in April after Bell was “unavailable,” according to a statement from the Indiana court system.

Late in April, Bell, who was aiming to keep her position as Crawford County Circuit Court judge, withdrew from the Indiana primary election, though her name would still appear on the ballot May 3. After her withdrawal, WAVE Troubleshooters reported that the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office responded to an incident involving Bell, but did not specify what the incident was at the time.

Bell’s candidacy was defeated in the primary by her challenger, Justin Mills, who won with 81% of the vote.

Mills’ and Bell’s history go back much further. He said they grew up together and were good friends in high school, graduating from Crawford County High School in 2000.

“The Sabrina that I know was free-spirited and enjoyable to be around,” Mills said. “She was always very smart in school.”

Mills’ thoughts on his old friend’s current situation is that he has no comment on the incident itself.

“It’s an unfortunate, horrible situation, and you don’t take enjoyment from it,” he said. “You want her to get well. You want her family to be well.”

Mills will face Democratic nominee Stan Pennington in the general election November.

Pennington was reached for a brief comment: “We just need to step back and leave the family alone, and let things work their way through the system.”

It is unclear how long Bell’s suspension will last.

WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram...
WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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