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Ex-IMPD officer claims juror misconduct, denied due process

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The former Indianapolis police officer convicted of killing one motorcyclist and injuring two others when he hit them while driving his patrol car in 2010 argues in his brief filed Wednesday that he is entitled to a new trial. David Bisard’s public defender raises three claims, including Bisard was denied his right to an impartial jury based on Internet research conducted by a juror.

Bisard was found guilty of seven counts, including Class B felony operating a motor vehicle with a BAC 0.15 or higher causing death, based on the crash that killed Eric Wells and injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly. The trial was moved to Allen County based on pre-trial publicity, and Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck sentenced Bisard to 16 years with three suspended. He filed his appeal in December 2013.

His attorney Victoria Bailey argues that Surbeck denied Bisard of his constitutional right to an impartial jury by failing to order a mistrial after learning that a juror had researched online information on blood alcohol testing and told the other jurors what he found. That juror was removed from the jury and the trial continued with the remaining jurors.

Bisard’s attorney also claims he was denied the due process right to present a defense to the state’s implication that he was a “tolerant drinker.” The state argued – and the trial court agreed – that Bisard could not present his evidence that he was not a tolerant drinker as of Aug. 6, 2010 – the date of the crash – without opening the door for the state to present evidence of Bisard’s 2013 arrest for drunken driving.

While on bail awaiting trial on the 2010 incident, Bisard was arrested in Indianapolis and charged with misdemeanor OWI and operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.15 grams or greater. A blood draw after the accident revealed a BAC of 0.22. He pleaded guilty to Count 1 in February.

The brief also claims the trial court abused its discretion when it aggravated Bisard’s sentence upon a finding that he abused a position of trust.

Bisard is seeking a new trial, or if that motion is denied, then to reduce his sentence, claiming the mitigating factors – including his service as a Marine and police officer – outweigh the aggravating factors.
 

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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.

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