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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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  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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