Thursday, August 19, 2010

Officer Dave Bisard Keeps Driver's License

At least for the time being. Fox 59 is reporting that Officer Dave Bisard, who is alleged to be behind the death of one motorcyclist and the injury of two others in a horrible car accident, will be able to keep his driver's license.

Fox 59 is also reporting that Bisard's attorney, John Kautzman, is pushing to have the blood test thrown out, claiming that his client wasn't told that it might be used in a criminal investigation and thus didn't give the proper consent. The blood test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.19, over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

More on this as it develops. Fox 59 will likely have some interviews to go along with their evening version of the story.

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Star is reporting that all of the alcohol related charges will be dropped. Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi had this to say after learning that Bisard will be able to keep his license:

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi today blasted the way police handled Bisard’s investigation. Brizzi said the fact that other officers didn’t suspect Bisard of being intoxicated at the scene and didn’t conduct any breathalyzer or field sobriety tests is having a direct bearing on the case now.

“I have serious concerns about the way this case was investigated at the scene,” Brizzi told The Indianapolis Star after the hearing. “Obviously, one of the things that created this situation we have today is that probable cause was not articulated (early enough).”

Brizzi later told a group of reporters outside the courtroom: “Someone on the scene should have recognized that officer Bisard was drunk.” A few minutes later, he elaborated, saying: “Yes, I am questioning their work on the scene. I am frustrated that there is an appearance — there is an appearance, whether it is accurate or not — that something was amiss that Friday. ..... Now we’re dealing with the aftermath.”

Blood drawn about two hours after the crash showed Bisard's blood-alcohol content was 0.19, more than twice the 0.08 level at which Indiana drivers are considered intoxicated. It led to felony charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and reckless homicide, filed last week by Brizzi.

After today’s hearing, Brizzi declined to say whether he was worried about the validity of the blood test in the case.

“As prosecutors, we have to deal with the evidence that is given to us. ..... I don’t want to speculate on how the evidence is going to play out,” Brizzi said, adding that he sees the issues involved in today’s ruling and any future defense attempt to suppress the blood test as “apples and oranges.”

He said the state’s implied-consent law should be fixed to allow a license suspension in a case like Bisard’s.

The Star also has a Starfiles on the case, which you can read here.

UPDATE II: The Star is now reporting that the blood sample won't be admissible at all in court. The FBI will be working in conjunction with IMPD on an internal investigation:

The FBI also will join an internal investigation of Indianapolis police's handling of the case, and Public Safety Director Frank Straub has removed a commander from overseeing the multi-agency Fatal Alcohol Crash Team because of shortcomings in the investigation. But Straub said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Professional Standards Division -- internal affairs -- will be expanded to all Public Safety agencies and will retain its commander as a sign of his confidence in the internal watchdogs.

The dismissal of officer David Bisard's six counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated -- leaving intact a reckless homicide charge and two newly filed criminal recklessness counts -- is rooted in a fatal flaw in the case, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said. Brizzi said a lab tech who drew Bisard's blood sample at an occupational health clinic was not certified under Indiana's DUI laws to do such work for a criminal case.

Straub is later quoted as saying "The system failed." You can't possibly say that enough.

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