Judge rules on key motions in David Bisard case

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ALLEN COUNTY – The judge overseeing the David Bisard case ruled on a series of motions Tuesday, finalizing orders that would allow prosecutors to use both blood vials that the defense had tried to suppress.

The suspended Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer is accused of being drunk behind the wheel of his squad car when he slammed into a group of motorcyclists in Aug. 6, 2010, killing Eric Wells and severely injuring two others. Charges against him include reckless homicide and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Last week, Judge John Surbeck said the first blood vial would be admissible as evidence in Bisard’s trial. The blood evidence had been in dispute. It was originally thrown out on a technicality before the Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors could use it. The Indiana Supreme Court didn’t hear an appeal on the matter.

Surbeck didn’t rule on the second vial last week, but in Tuesday’s ruling he denied the defense’s motion to suppress either vial. According to Surbeck’s ruling, defense attorneys “presented no legal impediment to the admission of vial one or vial two.” In denying the motion to suppress, Surbeck said the vials are “admissible at trial subject to foundational requirements of the Indiana Rules of Evidence.” The vials are key pieces of evidence in the trial, and show Bisard’s blood alcohol content was 0.19 and 0.18. The second vial had been in question over its storage and handling. “Two vials of blood were drawn from the defendant pursuant to his informed consent,” Surbeck wrote, adding that Bisard “knowingly and voluntarily consented to a blood test” after the crash.

Surbeck ruled that the jury would not be sequestered, as requested by Bisard’s defense lawyers. According to the ruling, media coverage in Allen County “has not been excessive.” Surbeck also wrote that the sequestration of a jury in a non-capital case would be “an extraordinary remedy causing significant inconvenience to jurors requested to serve.” Bisard’s lawyers had successfully moved the trial from Marion County to Allen County as a result of media coverage of the Bisard case in Indianapolis.

Surbeck granted the state’s motion to quash the transcripts and tapes of two secret recordings taken by Special Investigative Unit Sgt. Dawn Higgins and Deputy Public Safety Director Ellen Corcella of lead Bisard prosecutor Denise Robinson. Surbeck said the comments on tape are privileged and can’t be used in the trial.