Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bisard Victims' Attorneys And Terry Curry Go Gloria Allred

Two plaintiff lawyers representing the victims of the fatal DUI accident involving IMPD K-9 Officer David Bisard and several motorcyclists, which left one dead and two seriously injured, appeared at a press conference today with Marion Co. Democratic Prosecutor candidate, Terry Curry, to call for the reinstatement of felony alcohol-related charages against Bisard, which were dropped by Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi after his office learned a person not qualified to draw blood from Bisard for a blood/alcohol test under Indiana law had drawn Bisard's blood for testing. WIBC reports on the Curry press conference with the victims attorneys, Linda Pence and Mark Ladendorf, this afternoon outside the City-County Building, which Republican prosecutor candidate Mark Massa calls political grandstanding:

Democrat Terry Curry first talked about the case and stated, if elected, he will seek to re-file alcohol charges against Bisard. Curry made the statement along with victims attorneys Linda Pence and Mark Ladendorf.

Curry feels Prosecutor Carl Brizzi botched the case and further stated the Methodist Occupational Health Facility does have written protocol to administer blood tests under the responsibility of a physician and that the person who took the sample did not need to be certified. Reasons given by Prosecutor Brizzi when he dropped the alcohol charge, were that the facility was not qualified to test the blood under Indiana law and the blood was not taken by a certified technician.

Curry says he contemplated for a long time whether or not to bring up the issue during the campaign, but he explained it's an important public issue and needs to be properly dealt with by the new Prosecutor.

Republican candidate Mark Massa says he refrained from grandstanding to score political points and had not talked about the case publicly. Massa did state, if elected, he would take his legal argument to re-file the alcohol charges all the way to the State Supreme Court.

Massa feels Prosecutor Brizzi gave up to soon on the alcohol charges and that Curry is talking about using "a flimsy legal argument" to re-file the alcohol charges.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi issued a statement-""We will work and consult with whomever is elected, prior to the formal transition"
A press release from Massa noted the financial stake the plaintiffs' lawyers have in the outcome of the Bisard case and the fact that both are campaign contributors to Curry's campaign:

"For a couple of months now on the campaign trail, I have promised a complete review of the Bisard case upon taking office. I have refrained from grandstanding to score political points. So far, what I've seen suggests Mr. Brizzi and my opponent are both wrong and won’t ultimately bring justice -- the prosecutor for giving up too soon, and my opponent for making a flimsy argument, flanked by partisan plaintiffs lawyers who are financially supporting his campaign. Moreover, it’s not in the public interest to give the defendant incentive to plead to a lesser charge right now by publicly threatening him. I prefer to make my arguments to the Indiana Supreme Court in January, rather than to cameras now. My heart goes out to the victims and I won’t exploit their understandable anger for political gain.”

"The better argument is: the law that has Brizzi and Curry tied in knots doesn't apply in cases where a person consents to having his blood drawn. Our state Supreme Court has never answered this precise question, and it's one I'm prepared to pose if elected. If the facts establish consent, we'll refile the DUI charge and take it to the highest court. This is the kind of measured, mature approach you can expect if I'm the next Marion County Prosecutor."
Massa's criticism of Curry's actions today was spot on. If Curry wanted to state his view on how this case should be handled, I have no problem with that, but I think it is a bit unseemly of him to conduct a press conference with the victims' plaintiffs attorneys, who stand to reap substantial contingency fees from their respective cases. I think the victims are being exploited by both Curry and the plaintiffs lawyers, who are unnecessarily injecting their personal injury cases they have pending against the City of Indianapolis to impact the outcome of this political race. What is it they say? Rule Number 1: Do no harm to your client. That's advice both Curry and the plaintiffs attorneys should take to heart. This is no different than what Gloria Allred has done twice in two highly public press conferences she held during critical points in the gubernatorial elections in California supposedly for the benefit of her clients when she was supporting the opponent of the candidate she was railing against. I really thought Curry was above Gloria Allred-like tactics to win support for his campaign but apparently not. At least Allred didn't actually have the political candidate she was supporting join her and lead the press conferences for her clients as the plaintiffs attorneys here did today.

SNL's spoof on Gloria Allred this past weekend is just too good to pass by. Here it is for those of you who missed it.


Marycatherine Barton said...

I am sure that Mr. and Mrs. Wells, the parents of Eric, who died as a result, were also present at the press conference, and I am sure that they and, since a police officer seems to have been given special privileges that resulted in the dropping of the felony alcohol-related charges, the vast majority of the public were very gratified by Terry Curry's bravery in standing up for justice in this case. I very much agree that it could be considered unseemly for him to have the victims' attorneys for their civil complaints against the city present at the press conference, but I do believe Mr. Wells when he has repeatedly told the public, and once to me personally, that his law suits and strong protests about the murder of his son, are an effort to help improve police behavior and relations.

So, no, I did not see his press conference as a Gloria Allred moment, but since some saw otherwise, I would advise Terry to exclude the victims' private attorneys, next time. P.S. I hope Curry is elected!

Advance Indiana said...

I believe the victims families sincerity; I just question the way their attorneys interjected the issue into a political race. There is a lot of money on the line for taxpayers as a result of Bisard's actions, and Curry wants to be the county's top lawyer. When you consider as Massa pointed out, the plaintiffs attorneys have supported Curry's campaign financially, it gives the appearance he is selling off the office for political favors before he's even been elected. He should have never conducted that press conference with those attorneys present.

Indy Student said...

What's strange is that Curry already released a statement 2-3 weeks ago saying he'll re-look at the Bisard case and re-file the DUI charges if he finds the evidence fitting.

This press conference was a show. Nothing more, nothing less.

artfuggins said...

Brizzi offers his assistance to the new prosecutor. I sense that is one offer of help that any sane person would decline immediately.