Monday, November 16, 2015

Beyond the Call of Duty

Defense lawyer Michael John recently went beyond the call of duty when he provided his client, Larry Westwood, of Reading, with one of his suits to wear to court for his trial on charges he assaulted his former girlfriend in Lower Pottsgrove.

Learning on a Friday that Westwood’s trial was to begin the following week and not having enough time over a weekend to check with the public defender’s office, which has a few suits available for indigent clients to borrow for court, to determine if there was a suit available for Westwood to wear, John quickly found another solution.
“I just figured it would be a whole lot easier if I just brought one of my nice suits that my client could wear for the trial,” John said recently, adding Westwood changed into the brown suit in the courthouse holding cell in time for his appearance in court. “He’s pretty much the same size. It’s a nice Jos. A. Bank suit.”
Larry Westwood in John's suit/ Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

John said Westwood, 74, formerly of the 500 block of Penn Street in Reading, was appreciative.
“He said, ‘That’s nice,’” John recalled.

Kudos to John for taking the extra step to help a client.

Incidentally, John also won an acquittal for Westwood on an attempted murder charge.
However, a jury, after a two-day trial, did convict Westwood of a lesser aggravated assault charge in connection with the ice pick attack of his girlfriend in her Lower Pottsgrove home during an argument.

Testimony revealed the woman suffered a puncture wound to her lower back and a scratch wound to her head during the Oct. 19, 2013, ice pick assault inside her Dogwood Court home after she told Westwood she wanted to end their relationship.

By acquitting Westwood of attempted murder jurors determined he did not intend to kill the victim when he attacked her with the ice pick. By convicting Westwood of two felony counts of aggravated assault, the jury determined that he attempted to cause serious bodily injury and caused bodily injury to the woman with a deadly weapon.
The jury also convicted Westwood of charges of simple assault, possessing an instrument of crime and terroristic threats. Judge Thomas P. Rogers will sentence Westwood sometime early next year.

No word on whether Westwood will be wearing one of John’s suits for his sentencing hearing.