INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Former IMPD Officer David Bisard has asked an appeals court for a new trial, following his conviction for driving his squad car while drunk and causing a fatal crash, according to court filings obtained by I-Team 8.
Bisard was convicted in November 2013 on drunk driving charges in connection with the August 2010 crash, which injured Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills and killed 30-year-old Eric Wells. An Allen County judge sentenced Bisard to 16 years in prison, with three years suspended for probation. He also has to undergo substance abuse counseling while in prison.
His former attorney, John Kautzman, indicated as early as January that appeals on the conviction were already underway, though they had been held up by a lack of complete transcripts from the trial.
Bisard, who was declared indigent by the judge, is now represented by the Marion County Public Defender’s Office. I-Team 8’s calls seeking comment on the filing from his attorneys were not returned.
In a 40-page appellate court filing obtained by I-Team 8, Bisard’s attorneys claim Judge John Surbeck, Jr. should have declared a mistrial after one of the jurors admitted to researching blood alcohol testing on the Internet, then shared that research with other jurors. Bisard’s appeal also claims the judge “abused his discretion” by classifying “abuse of police power and breech of public trust” as an aggravating factor in the case.
Bisard also claims his right to due process was denied when he was not given ample opportunity to present evidence refuting the state’s claim that he was a “tolerant drinker.”
Previous appeals filing requests from Bisard’s attorneys included requests for transcripts of several pre-trial hearings in Allen County, where Judge Surbeck was asked to prohibit blood evidence at trial showing Bisard’s Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) at 0.19 following the crash. Surbeck denied that request, allowing the evidence at trial.
Bisard’s attorneys maintained through the trial that he was not drunk at the time of the crash.
The state now has 30 days to respond to the filing. No date has been set yet for an appeals hearing in the case.
Bisard’s full appeal is below: