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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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