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Ongoing appeal could impact IMPD officer's case

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An Indiana Court of Appeals decision from last fall could prove to be a game-changer for how the state’s largest county handles the high-profile prosecution of a police officer accused of drunk driving that resulted in one death and other injuries.

In office less than two weeks, Marion County’s new prosecutor Terry Curry followed through on what was one of his campaign promises to refile charges against Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer David Bisard, who in early August crashed into a group of motorcyclists and killed one person and injured two others.

A blood alcohol test showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.19 two hours after the crash, more than twice the legal limit to drive. But a mishandling by police on where the blood test occurred led former prosecutor Carl Brizzi to dismiss the alcohol-related charges. State statute says blood drawn outside of hospitals must be taken by certain medical professionals, and in this case the police took Bisard to a non-certified lab and that led Brizzi to decide he couldn’t use that evidence in court.

Following the accident in early August, Brizzi on Aug. 11 filed six alcohol-related charges against Bisard in addition to a reckless homicide charge. But Brizzi dropped the alcohol charges later that same month, citing the blood draw issue as the reason. That led to public outcries about a possible cover-up, and during his campaign Curry pledged to refile charges against Bisard if elected.

Earlier this week, Curry filed in Marion Superior 5 a motion to dismiss the remaining charges against Bisard and refiled them, as allowed by Indiana Code 35-34-1-13. But he said a recent Court of Appeals case gives him a different reading of state statute on whether the controversial blood draw can be used in this case.

“The decision to dismiss and re-file is not based in prosecutorial vindictiveness, nor is it an abuse of prosecutorial discretion,” the motion says. “The undersigned in previous statements made it clear that his legal interpretation of Indiana statutes and case law pertaining to the admissibility of the blood draw in this case differed from that of his predecessor. Further, after the OVWI counts were dismissed by the prior administration the Court of Appeals decided the case of Temperly v. State, 933 N.E. 2d 558 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010).”

Decided on Sept. 9 about three weeks after Brizzi had dropped those specific charges, the court’s ruling in Temperly held that BAC evidence is admissible at any proceeding concerning a drunk driving offense under Indiana Code 9-30-5-5 as long as it’s obtained within the requisite time limit. Unlike Bisard’s case, though, the Temperly appeal involved a driver who was taken to a hospital for the blood draw and most significantly delved into whether specific blood draw evidence could be used under 9-30-5-5 criminal prosecutions when consent issues under other state statute existed.

The Temperly case remains ongoing at the appellate level, with the Court of Appeals denying a rehearing request late last year and a transfer request filed with the Indiana Supreme Court on Jan. 3. What happens with that appeal may or may not ultimately impact the Bisard case, which is before Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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