The state Supreme Court upheld a local court’s ruling allowing evidence gathered in a search of a former Lake Charles gynecologist’s truck and home to be admitted in his video voyeurism trial. Peter LaFuria, 64, is accused of photographing his patient’s genitals without their knowledge. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:38 PM
The state Supreme Court upheld a local court’s ruling allowing evidence gathered in a search of a former Lake Charles gynecologist’s truck and home to be admitted in his video voyeurism trial.
Peter LaFuria, 64, is accused of photographing his patient’s genitals without their knowledge.
Facing a total of 267 charges, LaFuria is free on $1.29 million bond.
Defense attorneys Glen Vamvoras and Shane Hinch initially asked that Louisiana district court judge David Ritchie throw out the evidence because of issues with the search warrant, but Ritchie allowed the evidence, citing “inevitable discovery.”
LaFuria’s defense attorneys sought to have Ritchie’s ruling overturned, taking a writ first to the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, then to the Supreme Court.
“I was disappointed but not surprised by the court’s failure to entertain the writ,” defense attorney Glen Vamvoras said in an email. “The LaFuria case presents very serious violations of Fourth Amendment constitutional protections. This case presents another step in the continued erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights. We will take all steps to continue to fight for what we believe is a serious constitutional violation that should not be ignored.”
The Supreme Court denied the writ Friday, with six judges ruling to deny and judge Jeff Hughes saying he would have granted the writ in part.
No reasons were given for the judges’ decision.
“I felt certain that the Supreme Court would rule in our favor because that is the law,” prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth said. “And now we are free to go forward with the case and will.”
The search warrant authorities used to investigate LaFuria in 2007 listed his medical practice and all the vehicles on the premises of his practice, according to previous court testimony.
When they searched his truck in the driveway of his house, they found a bag containing photos and cameras. That led investigators to search his house.
Vamvoras and Hinch argued all evidence found in LaFuria’s truck and house should be thrown out because the truck was not specifically listed in the search warrant.
The Supreme Court ruling clears the way for the case to be brought to trial, although where that will happen must be determined.
On the same day he ruled to allow the evidence, Ritchie granted a defense motion for change of venue because of the attention the case has received.
Killingsworth said the next step in the case will be for Ritchie to decide on where the trial will be held.
Posted By: Jacobin On: 9/4/2013
Title: Goodbye Fourth amendment rights in Louisiana.
Good bye fourth amendment rights in our State. Regardless of ones views on this case our Constitutional rights must be protected. I hope that Attorney Glen Vamoras takes this case to the United States Supreme Court.