Prosecutors and defense attorneys were expected to review the controversial e-mails detailing testimony in the David Bisard trial that were sent by an IMPD official observing the proceedings.
Judge John Surbeck said late Thursday he had reviewed the e-mails and the distribution list, and that he would be forwarding that information to attorneys on both sides for them to review overnight.
The judge said he would discuss the matter with attorneys before testimony resumed Friday morning.
Thursday more procedural issues and delays slowed the pace of testimony, delaying a video presentation prosecutors had hoped to show the jury. A long lunch break for jurors also slowed the start of afternoon testimony.
Judge Surbeck sent the jury out of the courtroom while he met with attorneys form both sides to sort out complications over how copies of some exhibits were distributed, named and numbered.
This complication came just a day after the sudden controversy over e-mail. and after another juror had to be dismissed, because of a conflict with his job.
Judge Surbeck replaced the juror with an alternate, leaving just one alternate remaining on the panel. With the switch, the jury of twelve is now comprised of 7 women and 5 men.
Wednesday morning, the judge reprimanded the IMPD official who sent the detailed e-mail summaries of witness testimony from the trial to IMPD command staff.
Judge Surbeck called IMPD Major Greg Bieberich to the stand under oath, ordering him to cease all e-mail communications with other members of the force about the trial.
Ft. Wayne attorney Colin Andrews told Fox59 the issue could potentially lead to an appeal, if Bisard is convicted, or even a mistrial.
“It’s going to come down to where did this information go and who did it get to?” Andrews said. “I would think if it got to any witnesses coming up could be a big problem.”
Lead prosecutor Denise Robinson discovered the issue Tuesday night, after being forwarded a copy of the e-mails. Robinson also forwarded the e-mails to defense attorney John Kautzman.
“We have serious, serious concerns to the extent that this email may have been forwarded to other members of police department, potential witnesses on both sides, and whether the info was privy to witnesses before they testified,” Kautzman said.
Robinson told the judge she did not believe any witnesses were on the distribution list, but said at least one witness may have been forwarded the mail.
Bieberich was back at the courthouse Thursday, but not in the courtroom itself.
Crash reconstruction experts testified for a second straight day, explaining the science of the crash that killed one motorcyclist and injured two others at 56th and Brendon Way South Drive.
Thursday, IMPD crash reconstruction expert Doug Heustis was back on the stand. Sgt. Heustis measured a 61-foot skid mark at the scene of the crash, a skid mark that defense attorneys say is indicative of anti-lock brake failure.
Heustis told jurors Bisard’s speed was a major contributing circumstance to the crash. While one estimate put Bisard’s speed at 73 miles per hour, another expert had testified that evidence showed Bisard was traveling as fast as 76 miles per hour.
“Obviously we think that’s pretty impactful testimony,” said lead prosecutor Denise Robinson.
Defense attorneys challenged Heustis on his speed estimates and crash report revisions.
“You want to poke holes, you wand to create those little avenues of doubt,” said Andrews of the defense’s strategy.
Friday, prosecutors are expected to focus on blood evidence showing Bisard was intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash.