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Friday, October 31, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Appeals court: still time to prosecute former deputy

Last Modified: Thursday, May 08, 2014 7:59 PM

By Johnathan Manning

The Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office still has time to prosecute a former Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy on an alleged sex crime, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by 14th Judicial District Court Judge Ron Ware that the time limit had run out to prosecute David Neal Thomas, who allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl between March and October 2009.

While Ware ruled that time had run out to prosecute Thomas, the 3rd Circuit said the case’s time limit is suspended because an open motion to quash a search warrant has not been ruled on or withdrawn.

Thomas was indicted Jan. 2, 2010. The state had two years from the indictment to bring him to trial, although an extra year was added because of a defense continuance on March 29, 2012.

Ware granted a defense motion to throw out the charges in April 2013. The judge said both the prosecution and defense made “numerous requests” to set a trial date, but it was his schedule that kept the case from going to forward.

However, on Aug. 10, 2010, a defense motion was filed to quash a search warrant to take blood from Thomas for DNA analysis.

Ware stayed the warrant and a hearing was held on Sept. 22, 2010. He asked for more information at the end of the hearing, but never ruled on the matter.

Because no decision was made and the motion was never withdrawn, “the time limitation has been suspended and remains suspended at this time,” Judge Elizabeth A. Pickett wrote in the appellate opinion. “There is no violation to the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.”

The law says that “when a defendant files a motion to quash or other preliminary plea, the running of the periods of limitation ... shall be suspended until the ruling of the court thereon.”

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