Some readers may remember the post earlier this month about Andrei Govorov, the Philadelphia prosecutor who decided to intervene in a loud, angry confrontation on the Broad Street Subway and got pummeled for his trouble.
Well, Govorov was back in court last week to testify at the preliminary hearing of his alleged assailant, Kamile Ladson, 30, of West Oak Lane. From Govorov’s viewpoint, probably the best that can be said is that Ladson was held for trial on aggravated assault and other charges and Govorov left the hearing without a concussion.
Over the objections of the prosecutor and rulings by Municipal Court Judge J. Scott O’Keefe, defense attorney William D. Hobson focused on the role he suggested Govorov played in causing his own assault.
The resume is impressive.
Only child of a middle-class Philadelphia family, 1959 graduate of Central High School, undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College. A medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia followed by four decades of practicing community medicine among the poor including the creation of a drug half-way house in Mantua and a teen aid program.
Married with six children including a professor at a storied New England university, a surgeon in San Francisco, aspiring actor in Los Angeles, a college student and teenager in high school as well as a woman brought into the house as a child and raised as their daughter.
In the beginning, there was anti-abortion and pro-abortion.
Then, in the years after 1973’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, semantics and politics took over and anti-abortion became “pro-life” and pro-abortion became “pro-choice.”
Two weeks spent watching jury selection for the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell makes me wonder if the terminology is evolving again.
As “Law & Order” has taught a generation of television viewers, “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.”
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Andrei Govorov is going to have to pick a team.
Last Thursday evening, Govorov’s decision to intervene in a loud, escalating confrontation on the Broad Street Subway ended with him being assaulted but also managing to restrain his attacker in a head-lock until SEPTA police arrived to make the arrest.
When a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury on Tuesday acquitted all 12 Occupy Philadelphia protesters arrested in a 2011 Center City bank sit-in, it was a personal vindication for the defendants.
For the seven lawyers who represented the 12 for 16 months -- free of charge -- it was a professional vindication of the concept of “pro bono” representation and the work of what became known as the Occupy Philadelphia Legal Collective.
The Occupy demonstrators were charged with conspiracy and defiant trespass in the Nov. 18, 2011 sit-in inside a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 17th and Market Streets in Center City.
Every criminal trial has stories within stories and many never make it into print in the daily paper.
So it was on Feb. 14 when Philadelphia Police Officer Jacqueline Speaks was called to testify at the Philadelphia trial of India Spellman, the Cedarbrook high school student charged in the Aug. 18, 2010 robbery-murder of George “Bud” Greaves, an 87-year-old World War II veteran.
The testimony was routine. Speaks’ police work was anything but.
A former Philadelphia City Council sergeant-at-arms – arrested last Sept. 8 for driving a city-owned vehicle while intoxicated – was found guilty Monday by a Municipal Court judge of two counts of driving under the influence.
Rodney Williams, 42, who worked for Council since 2004, did not testify and defense attorney Robin Colley Pitt called no other witnesses during the hour-long trial before Judge Gerard A. Kosinski. Kosinski set sentencing for April 1.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kotchian presented two police witnesses who testified about Williams’ condition when he was stopped between 2:30 and 3 a.m. on Sept. 8 at 13th and Hamilton Streets in lower North Philadelphia. Two hours after Williams’ arrest, said Kotchian, a breath-alcohol test showed that his blood-alcohol level was .16 – twice the legal threshold for driving intoxicated.
Court reporters inevitably spend a lot of time waiting to see what a jury does.
And when the jury doesn’t, or sends out messages that imply something has gone awry, the handicapping begins. What does it mean? Or, it has to mean this. Or that. The more cynical talk of starting a pool on the eventual verdict.
Consider last week’s verdict in the child sex-abuse trial of the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former parochial school teacher Bernard Shero.