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Opening Arguments

Outrage in Indy

A lot of people in Indianapolis seem to have trouble believing that colleagues of police officer David Bisard -- experienced DUI investigators -- would "botch" the case so badly that the most serious acolohol-related charges had to be dropped against him in the crash that killed one motorcyclist and critically injured two others. But they did, letting the blood be drawn by a technician not certified for criminal cases. So:

"Everything else can be explained away," said Henry Karlson, an expert on criminal procedure and a professor emeritus at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

But add in the mishap with the blood draw by seasoned alcohol-crash investigators, he said, and "there's only so many mistakes you can make before it starts looking like a plan."

The victims' families are outraged, police brass are embarrassed, the mayor wants answers, and the FBI has been called in. Public Safety Director Frank Straub even brings out that old familiar excuse, "The system failed." But a "system" is just a set of procedures carefully laid out to ensure the uniform practices and procedures necessary for fairness and accuracy. A system works only when there is faith in it, faith that's destroyed if people think there's a different set of rules for police and their friends.


Bob G.
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 6:09pm

This reminds me of the D.I. who would shout:
"There are FOUR WAYS to do things here. The RIGHT way, the WRONG way, the MILITARY way, and MY way. We will do things MY way."

Now THAT worked, I must admit.

But not in cases such as this, although I will confess that as long as someone knows HOW to draw blood (which could be just a technician, and RN, or an LPGN), the fact that the person drawing said blood is not NECESSARILY a "seasoned, alcohol crash investigator", but just a plain old hematology department tech (who ALSO knows HOW to tap a vein) should make no nevermind.

Seems the red blood got mixed up in the red tape.

The system fails ITSELF (often) because it's weighed down by it's very own girth and trips over it's own feet.

Lewis Allen
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 6:30pm

A good question to ask would be how often has this (a botched sobriety test) happened before? If the answer is 'rarely' or 'never' , then it sure smells like a rat.