Judge expects David Bisard trial to last two weeks

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FORT WAYNE – Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck told lawyers on both sides of the David Bisard case he expects the trial of the Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer to last two weeks.

Bisard is accused in an on-duty drunken driving crash that killed a motorcyclist in August 2010. His trial, which has been moved from Marion County to Allen County over pretrial publicity, will start Oct. 14.

Surbeck said his court has sent out questionnaires to 300 perspective jurors. He estimates 150 potential jurors will be available for two days of jury selection.

The judge admonished both sides to be succinct in the presentation of their cases.

Bisard defense attorney John Kautzman has argued that an accident reconstruction video created by the State should not be included in the trial. Kautzman told Surbeck he hasn’t had time to determine how the video was made.

Prosecutor Denise Robinson said she’s never encountered such an objection before.

“The video evidence is demonstrative. We believe it is appropriate under the rules and we believe it will give the jury an overview and some insight into what happened that day,” Robinson argued.

Kautzman said he expects to call 12-15 IMPD officers who were on the scene on Aug. 6, 2010, when Bisard’s patrol car struck a trio of motorcyclists, killing Eric Wells.

Kautzman told the court he expects those witnesses to testify that they did not detect any signs of intoxication in Bisard that day.

Robinson said she will present evidence about mistakes IMPD investigators made in the case, adding that the trial will not be based on the competency of police department.

Surbeck has advised both sides this trial is not to focus on the IMPD investigation.

The case was moved to Ft. Wayne because it is an urban environment, the state’s second largest city, and therefore jurors could relate to the traffic conditions the day of the crash.

“While there’s been coverage in the Fort Wayne news media about Officer Bisard’s charges,” said Ft. Wayne City Councilman Mitch Harper, “I don’t think it’s so extensive that people would have drawn hard conclusions. They’re going to listen to the facts.”

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