INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has objected to the reinstatement of a suspended Clark County judge during its ongoing investigation.
Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Andrew Adams has been suspended since June 28, when he was charged with felony battery for a May 1 incident in Indianapolis that led to the shooting of Adams and another judge.
Originally facing seven charges, including two level 6 felonies, Adams pleaded guilty Sept. 9 in Marion County Superior Court to a class A misdemeanor for battery. He was sentenced to one year, suspended, with no probation.
On Monday, Adams petitioned the state Supreme Court for reinstatement to the bench in Clark County, his motion stating that the reason for the suspension was a felony charge that has now been dismissed.
However, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications is conducting a separate investigation into the matter, and in its response Friday to Adams' request, states that his return to the bench should be decided based on results of the investigation.
"The commission maintains that the interim suspension is necessary to protect public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary," the response reads, in part. It also states that reinstating Adams before the completion of the commission's separate investigation "would adversely affect the ability of [Adams] to perform the duties of judicial office."
It states that if Adams is returned to the bench before the investigation is complete, this could lead to those appearing in his court to question his impartiality, especially in regard to battery offenses, and "could lead to frequent disqualification in [Adams'] court if he is returned to the bench at this time."
Adams' Monday motion states that his reinstatement "is in the best interest of the Clark County judicial system," and that since he could face other sanctions depending on the commission's findings, including further suspension, "he feels obligated to prepare the Clark County Circuit Court 1 for another absence," it reads.
The Indiana Supreme Court has not yet issued an order on whether or not Adams will be reinstated before the investigation is complete.
Two others charged with felonies in the incident, Alfredo Vazquez and Brandon Kaiser, have jury trials set for Nov. 19 in Marion County.
Adams and another Clark County judge had been attending a judicial conference in Indianapolis when police say a fight broke out in the early morning hours of May 1 in a downtown parking lot with the two other men, Vazquez and Kaiser.
Police said that this led to the shooting of both judges, who underwent multiple surgeries and were placed on leave for recovery time, with Pro Tempore judges being assigned to their courts.
On June 28, grand jury indictments were filed against Adams, Kaiser and Vazquez and Adams was placed on paid suspension the same day.
His Monday motion cites, among the other reasons for his reinstatement request, that the senior judge assigned to his court has expressed wishes to return to his previous duties. The response from the Commission on Judicial Qualifications Friday states if that is the case, that a different Pro Tempore judge may be assigned to that court during the remainder of Adams' absence.