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Friday, February 15, 2013

Ind. Courts - Bisard trial moving to Fort Wayne, Judge Hawkins withdraws

Tim Evans reports in the Indianapolis Star:

[At a hearing Thursday morning] Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins announced Bisard’s trial is being moved to Allen County. It was a move, the judge said, that was necessitated by the extensive publicity that continues to swirl around the case 30 months after the crash.

Hawkins and attorneys involved in the case hope Allen County — about 120 miles northeast of Indianapolis — will provide a pool of potential jurors who know nothing about the allegation that Bisard was driving drunk or the controversy surrounding the blood test. * * *

The new trial location announced Thursday was expected.

In December, Hawkins approved a defense request to move the trial because extensive media coverage could make it difficult to find jurors in Marion County unfamiliar with the controversial case.

“It appears clear,” Hawkins wrote in an order issued Thursday, “this case must be brought to trial a distance away from the Marion County media ‘footprint.’”

But there was a bit of a surprise at the hearing. Hawkins announced that he is withdrawing from the case and has selected Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck Jr. to take jurisdiction.

Hawkins noted in his order that “it is not feasible to be away from Marion County for the time necessary to preside over this trial,” which is expected to last three to four weeks. * * *

The first hearing in Allen County will be a case conference in front of Surbeck at 1:30 p.m. March 8. Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson said she hopes a trial date will be set at that time.

[More] Charles Wilson of the AP has a long story today, here in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, about the move.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 15, 2013 08:06 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts