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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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  1. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

  2. I have met some highly placed bureaucrats who vehemently disagree, Mr. Smith. This is not your father's time in America. Some ideas are just too politically incorrect too allow spoken, says those who watch over us for the good of their concept of order.

  3. Lets talk about this without forgetting that Lawyers, too, have FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

  4. Baer filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit on April 30 2015. When will this be decided? How many more appeals does this guy have? Unbelievable this is dragging on like this.

  5. They ruled there is no absolute right to keep a license, whether it be for a lifetime or a short period of time. So with that being said, this state taught me at the age of 15 how to obtain that license. I am actually doing something that I was taught to do, I'm not breaking the law breaking the rules and according to the Interstate Compact the National Interstate Compact...driving while suspended is a minor offense. So, do with that what you will..Indiana sucks when it comes to the driving laws, they really and truly need to reevaluate their priorities and honestly put the good of the community first... I mean, what's more important the pedophile drug dealer or wasting time and money to keep us off the streets?

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