INDIANAPOLIS – David Bisard had nothing to say when he was led in handcuffs from the Allen County Courthouse after he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a fatal drunk driving crash in 2010.
Perhaps he was thinking about the tearful wife he left in the courtroom, or the victims and their families who never heard him admit he was drunk the day of the accident or the dangers he faces as a former policeman in prison.
Or maybe Bisard was doing the math and realizing he might spend less than half his sentence behind bars.
Judge John Surbeck weighed state law and sentencing guidelines in handing down a 16-year prison sentence and suspending three years to the ex-IMPD K9 officer who resigned from the department Monday.
Surbeck said he could not factor Bisard’s refusal to confess to being drunk the day of the crash into the sentence.
Assuming Bisard catches most of the breaks to which he is eligible, the father of two adolescent girls, who killed a motorcyclist with his patrol car, could leave prison in the spring of 2016.
“Its called ‘Credit Time,’” said Department of Correction Spokesman Doug Garrison. “The offender who comes in with a six-year sentence, assuming he does nothing but behave while he’s in prison, will serve half of that sentence because he gets day-for-day good time credit under the current law.”
Once the DOC accepts Bisard into its system, it starts calculating his potential release date.
Based on DOC policies and programs, Fox 59 News has determined Bisard’s actual time in prison could amount to approximately two and a half years.
If he behaves himself, half of Bisard’s executed 13-year sentence would be reduced, setting a potential release date of May 2020.
Then more credits start adding up, in effect reducing his sentence.
“Time served in jail awaiting trial while you’re incarcerated goes on to your sentence with the DOC,” said Garrison. “It’s not kept separately.”
Bisard was jailed by Surbeck following his arrest in April of this year for a DUI arrest in Lawrence.
He goes to court on that case next month and admitted before Surbeck Tuesday that he was guilty of driving drunk when he wrecked a pickup truck.
Bisard served seven months in jail awaiting trial and sentencing in the 2010 case which took the life of motorcyclist Eric Wells.
Credit for that jail time would set his potential release date at October 2019.
If Bisard participates in substance abuse or other self-improvement programs, as Surbeck ordered, he could reduce his sentence another two years, moving a potential release date up to October 2017.
Then Bisard would be eligible to spend the last 18 months of his DOC sentence in a community transition halfway house starting in the spring of 2016….less than two and a half years after being sentenced in Surbeck’s courtroom.
“Justice was served,” said Aaron Wells after his son’s killer was sentenced. “Regardless of the sentence, we think the judge did a very fair job and regardless of that sentencing, we hope that David Bisard gets the help that he needs and that he never does this to another family.”
“The door is always gonna open for David Bisard. Regardless of how long he gets, he will live free,” said Eric Wells’ mother Mary. “He will walk out, he will embrace his family. He took that away from my family and myself. We will never be able to embrace Eric ever again.”
Bisard’s daughters are 11 and 13 years old.
It’s possible they may see their dad out of prison before they graduate high school.
New laws passed by the General Assembly reduce the amount of credit and sentence reductions inmates can qualify for.
Those new guidelines go into effect next summer.