Ongoing appeal could impact IMPD officer's case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?