Tallulah doc’s trial moved to September

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The prescription fraud trial for a Tallulah physician whose Vicksburg home was raided by narcotics agents in 2011 was delayed until September.

Circuit Judge M. James Chaney reset the trial for Dr. Lawrence Francis Chenier III, 61, who lives in Vicksburg but practices medicine in Tallulah, for Sept. 15 in Warren County Circuit Court.

The trial was set to begin July 21.

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Chenier recently added attorney Lisa Ross of Jackson to his defense council after being defended solely by Marshall Sanders.

Ross raised concerns that the trial for 74 counts of prescription forgery and a single count of conspiracy could not finish before she was slated to appear in Madison County Circuit Court for a Supreme Court ordered retrial.

“This trial is set to start July 21 and I believe based on the counts, it will take more than seven days to try this case,” she said of the Chenier case. “I think it will take over a month if the state plans to proceed with all these counts.”

The defense also argued that they had not been provided with all the evidence against Chenier.

“There are 38 prescriptions we don’t have,” Sanders said.

District Attorney Ricky Smith said his office had provided a complete catalogue of evidence to the defense.

“To the best of my knowledge, I believe we’ve provided every piece of evidence to the defense,” he said.

To help expedite the trial and alleviate concerns over evidence, Chaney ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to pre-mark each exhibit they planned to introduce at trial and exchange the evidence by next Tuesday.

Any objections to the introductions of evidence must be filed by July 24, he said.

The packets of evidence will include photos of prescription bottles used in the indictment that were found in the home Chenier shared with his co-defendant Patti Carr.

Sheriff’s deputies have said that Carr picked up the prescriptions painkillers hydrocodone and Lyrica using prescriptions signed by Chenier.

More than 300 empty pill bottles were found inside the home they shared at 100 Colonial Drive. Carr, who is represented by John Bullard, has filed a petition to enter a guilty plea, but has not appeared in court to plead guilty.

A lawsuit filed in January 2012 by District Attorney Ricky Smith seeking the forfeiture of the Colonial Drive home is pending in Warren County Court.

Chenier is listed on the roster of Madison Parish Hospital, according to the hospital’s website. The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners lists his license as on probation.

He received his medical degree in 1980 at Meharry Medical College in Nashville and his been in practice since 1982, records show.