Peter LaFuria, right, and attorney Glen Vamvoras. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 9:09 PM
In an effort to see whether an impartial jury can be gathered in Calcasieu Parish for the trial of Peter LaFuria, the 14th Judicial District Court began a mock jury selection Wednesday.
Thirty-five would-be jurors testified Wednesday and another 15 are expected to testify this morning to their knowledge of the case. The prosecution and LaFuria’s defense lawyers will debate a change of venue either this afternoon or Friday morning. A motion to suppress evidence is also expected to resume Friday.
LaFuria, a former Lake Charles gynecologist accused of taking photos of his patients without their knowledge, is charged with 186 counts of video voyeurism, 7 counts of sexual battery and five counts of molestation of a juvenile.
A settlement has already been reached in civil court, distributing $3.75 million of LaFuria’s personal assets.
The change of venue motion revolves around whether media publicity has been such that LaFuria cannot receive a fair trial in Calcasieu.
A few would-be jurors said Wednesday they had little to no knowledge of the case while most said they knew at least the basics of the accusations.
Two women said they were former patients of LaFuria’s, one only for a short while. The other woman said she had gone to see if she could identify herself in the photographs; she could not, but her sister identified herself.
One woman said she knew nothing of the case, nor who LaFuria was.
Another woman said she had almost no knowledge of the case, although she said she may have overheard talk of the case.
Another woman said she knew LaFuria’s name, but did not know what he was charged with.
Two women said they had heard about the case only while the TV was on in the background.
Most of the witnesses said they had heard something of the case, either through the media or through friends or co-workers.
Two women said they had met LaFuria and a few said they had friends or family who were alleged victims.
Some of the jurors, both men and women, called LaFuria “sick,” and several said they assumed him to be guilty.
“As a mother of a daughter and a woman myself, I think that would be very difficult (to presume him innocent),” one juror said.
One person questioned LaFuria’s innocence since he was found liable in a civil trial.
Several said even though they assumed him to be guilty, they would go into a trial with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Defense attorney Glen Vamvoras said he was concerned that the court was “rehabilitating” the jurors to get them to that point of presumption of innocence.
Vamvoras asked several witnesses whether they had seen video or photographs of LaFuria leaving Calcasieu Correctional Center shown by local news organizations. He also asked how many times they had seen it.
Posted By: jessica bland On: 11/8/2012
Peter./vamvoruse. REALLY? U think changing parishes will Help you? Its only going to make u look WORST FOR 1. & for 2. U could go to Tim Buck Too Parish. YOUR STILL GUILTY!
1 of Your Victims