Blood evidence reviewed in Bisard trial
The prosecution in the trial of suspended Indianapolis Metro Police Officer David Bisard is getting close to wrapping up its case.
Testimony has been leading up to the prosecutor's strongest evidence: the blood test results. These constitute the only hard evidence that Bisard was driving drunk.
Bisard is accused of drunk driving in his squad car and crashing into a group of motorcycles in August 2010. The crash critically injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly. It killed Eric Wells.
Friday's hearing started with the issue of IMPD emails to top brass summarizing witness testimony. Maj. Greg Bieberich got a reprimand from Judge John Surbeck earlier this week when the judge discovered Bieberich had been sending the emails, and he was ordered to stop immediately.
The defense claimed a violation of separation of witnesses order. Because the defense couldn't determine how many times the emails were forwarded to other officers, defense attorney John Kautzman asked that the testimony of a police captain struck from the record.
Judge Surbeck is considering the ruling. He said he read the emails and did not see any "significant undue prejudice to the defense."
"It's certainly unprofessional. It's wrong. It should not have happened," said the judge.
Next on the stand was an IMPD property room worker, who explained how the two vials of Bisard's blood samples were received, logged in, identified and stored.
The defense asked if the worker knew the temperature of the evidence refrigerator, or if there is a log kept of that data. She did not know. She also testified she has no formalized training in property room management. The worker said she received on-the-job training on the intake of blood, guns, wet items, as well as other types of evidence.
Bisard's attorneys are trying to establish gaps in the "chain of custody" of the evidence. They want to keep the results out of court or raise doubts about the validity of the evidence.
Mike Medler, director of the Marion County crime lab, testified that the lab is independent and neutral. He said that the two vials of blood were tested by two different analysts.
On cross examination, Medler said the lab works for 26 public safety agencies. He also said the lab never conducted an independent audit assessing error rate. Other audits are done internally or by an accrediting agency.
No signs of impairment
Another question that came up Friday: If David Bisard was as intoxicated as prosecutors claim, why didn't anyone see any obvious signs of impairment?
Researcher Dr. Wayne Alan Jones testified, "the brain learns to adapt to the alcohol environment if you drink regularly or over long period of time."
Jones, a chemist, has studied alcohol blood testing and the effects of alcohol for 40 years. Asked if he doubts the results of Bisard's blood tests, he replied, "No."
The first vial of Bisard's blood sample tested at .19 Asked how a man of Bisard's similar size could be so intoxicated, so early in the day, Jones said, "The likely explanation is this person had been drinking heavily the night before. He may have taken a couple of drinks in the morning because of anxiety or to steady his nerves."
The prosecution is relying on the testimony to counter defense claims that the test results can't be trusted, trying to convince jurors to trust what witnesses saw, not what the lab test results say.