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Opening Arguments

At it again

David Bisard, the Indy cop whose DUI-causing-death trial has been moved to Allen County, has now been charged in another drunken driving incident. I think this observation by Star columnist Erika Smith is about right:

This guy hasn’t changed one bit.I even feel a bit of pity for him. Only someone with a serious substance-abuse problem would continue to drink and drive after killing someone, destroying his career, embarrassing the entire police department, and costing the city millions of dollars in damages and legal fees.

Not sorry enough to be glad he's still out there endangering lives -- if he can't control himself, it's time for others to control him by locking him away -- but you have to have a certain amount of sympathy for someone so obviously self-destructive.

Then there is this:

Ralph Staples, a former Marion County prosecutor who is not involved in the Bisard case, said he's not sure the latest arrest will impact the ongoing trial.

"Personally, for him, its a very big deal. In terms of the prosecution, it will have minimal impact on the older case, unless the state can find a way to get the into evidence before a jury up north," Staples said.

From my vast legal training of watching "Perry Mason" reruns, it seems to me that a prosecutor can get prior acts into the trial if they are deemed to indicate a "pattern of behavior." Wouldn't the same be true of subsequent acts? Or does it take more than two incidents to show a pattern?

I'd think it might actually be in Bisard's best interests to have this latest DUI introduced at the trial. At least a few of the jurors will be aware of the incident, which means before the trial is over the whole jury will know, any admonitions to not talk about the case notwithstanding. If it's introduced in court, at least his lawyer will have the opportunity to offer mitigating circumstances or somehow put the incident in a better light. If the jury is left to just talk about it on their own, I suspect Bisard will be toast. See above: "This guy hasn't changed one bit."