INDIANAPOLIS — A former Indianapolis police officer filed an appeal Wednesday challenging his convictions for killing one motorcyclist and seriously injuring two others while driving drunk in his police cruiser.
A brief filed by public defenders representing David Bisard claims Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck should have declared a mistrial after a juror violated the judge's orders by conducting Internet research on the case and reported the findings to other jurors, WRTV-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1nVRDha). That juror was excused from the case.
The brief also says Surbeck should not have found Bisard had abused a position of trust to be an aggravating factor in sentencing.
The appeal said a third area of concern was Bisard being denied his due process right to present a defense when prosecutors presented expert testimony about what it meant to be a "tolerant drinker." It claimed that Bisard was denied an opportunity to present evidence that he was not a "tolerant drinker" without opening the door to evidence of another arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
It's now up to the Attorney General's office to respond to the filing.
Bisard was sentenced to 16 years in prison, with three years suspended, after being convicted in November on nine counts, the most serious of which was driving with a blood-alcohol content above 0.15 percent while in a fatal accident. A blood test showed a level of 0.19 percent when he failed to stop at a traffic light and plowed into motorcyclists stopped for the light. The August 2010 crash killed Eric Wells and badly injured Mary Mills and her husband, Kurt Weekly.
Bisard later pleaded guilty to drunken driving in a separate case and received a one-year suspended sentence.
Information from: WRTV-TV, http://www.theindychannel.com/index.html