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Peter LaFuria is seen in this 2007 file photo. (American Press Archives)

Peter LaFuria is seen in this 2007 file photo. (American Press Archives)

Appeals court orders stay in LaFuria case

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:27 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal issued a stay of proceedings in Peter LaFuria’s video voyeurism case until it rules on a writ filed by LaFuria.

LaFuria, 64, a former Lake Charles gynecologist, is accused of taking photos of his patients’ genitals without their knowledge.

LaFuria is asking the appeals court to overturn 14th Judicial District Court Judge David Ritchie’s ruling that evidence taken from LaFuria’s truck is permissible.

“I’m encouraged. That means they’ll take a good look at it,” LaFuria defense lawyer Glen Vamvoras said.

Ritchie granted LaFuria a change of venue, which the prosecution has said it will not appeal.

Vamvoras argued that a truck was not covered under the search warrant, which listed LaFuria’s medical practices and all vehicles on the premises.

Prosecutors and the defense agreed that if evidence from the truck was ruled inadmissible, so too would be evidence taken from his house because it was what was found in the truck that led detectives to the house.

A bag containing digital photos and cameras was found in LaFuria’s truck, previous court testimony revealed.

Ritchie said he would allow the evidence, ruling that it would have eventually been discovered.

“I’m not surprised that they granted a stay because we don’t have a trial date set,” prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth said. “Because a change of venue has been granted we certainly don’t want to go forward in another period with this pending over us.

“I am not concerned. I believe the law is in our favor,” she said. “The discretionary ruling with the trial court is given much weight.”

LaFuria faces 267 counts. He is free on $1.29 million bond.

Killingsworth said the stay could have been the appellate court’s wish for “judicial economy,” while Vamvoras said it could have been “judicial efficiency.”

“In my opinion they saw the importance of the issues raised and decided to resolve them before the trial commences so we don’t have to start all over again or it have some impact while the trial is in process,” Vamvoras said.

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