Dwight enters not guilty plea to assault charge

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect the presence of attorney Woody Hanstein, J Dwight and Adrienne Neary at the bail hearing. Some information contained in the original version was incorrectly provided to the Sun Journal.

FARMINGTON — Investment adviser and political activist Lawrence E. Dwight Jr. has pleaded not guilty to a sole charge of domestic violence assault.

Dwight, 54, known professionally as J Dwight, entered the plea in 12th District Court Thursday morning, through a motion filed by his attorney Kevin Joyce.

Dwight’s bail was amended to permit him to return to the family residence on Orchard Drive in Wilton.

According to court records, Dwight requested amended bail with the full support of his wife, Adrienne Neary, described as “the alleged victim in this case.” It is Neary's wish, according to the court, that her husband be allowed to have unrestricted contact with her, and that “the circumstances of the case do not warrant that the defendant be prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with his wife.”

According to Joyce, Dwight was “very happy that the court has allowed him to return home and be reunited with his wife.”

Dwight was arrested Saturday and charged with domestic violence assault when Wilton police responded to a complaint about a disturbance at the home. According to police, Dwight appeared to be intoxicated and officers determined there was probable cause for the arrest.

Dwight was taken to the Franklin County Jail and released Sunday on $250 cash bail. The bail conditions prohibited him from returning to the family home, which is also Dwight’s workplace. He had been staying at the Comfort Inn in Wilton since his release.

Although the amended bail conditions have allowed Dwight to return home, the bond still prohibits him from using or possessing alcohol, or from possessing dangerous weapons. According to family friend John Frary, who has been posting comments about the situation on the online forum "As Maine Goes," Frary took possession of the alcohol that was in Dwight’s house, along with firearms and ammunition, to help him abide by the bail bond.

According to Frary, a Farmington writer and former college professor who was the 2008 Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, Neary is frustrated by her status as the court-described “victim” in this case because she doesn’t see herself as a victim. According to Frary’s post, Neary told him that by the time police arrived at their home, the argument had long been resolved and the family was out by the pool enjoying the evening.

Neary, Frary wrote, “believes that Gov. Paul LePage is the real target of the front-page treatment” of Dwight’s arrest, a belief shared by a number of others posting comments on AMG and on sunjournal.com.

Learning of Dwight’s arrest Tuesday, the governor issued a statement saying that he “expected” Dwight to voluntarily step down from his appointed position on the state’s Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee, which advises the governor, the Legislature and others on economic trends, while his legal issues remain pending. Dwight, who was appointed to that committee in May, agreed to do so.

Neary has also posted a comment about the situation on AMG, critical of what she believes to be a “reckless, politically motivated media” publishing reports that will have far-reaching and harmful effects on herself and her family over what she considers to be “an innocent, honest mistake.”

In that post, Neary suggested that her husband deserves “the benefit of a doubt.”

When entering the not guilty plea Thursday morning, Joyce's motion requested a jury trial request form in case Dwight decides to request his case be moved to Franklin County Superior Court for trial. Joyce was represented at the bail hearing by his colleague, Woody Hanstein, who accompanied Dwight and his wife to the proceeding.


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Sounds like Kevin Joyce is earning his pay

As I said earlier, this story is not cause for getting snarky - either way. It's a personal problem that has become a public matter not just because of police involvement but also because of who J is. I'm sure this is not a good time for J.

Instead of pretending we're the masses at the Coliseum two thousand years ago deciding with a roar whether the lion gets to eat, why not let the DA and the court - if it comes to that - decide.

Not just with this case, but in just about everything nowadays, everyone has an opinion spoken with such certitude that there is no room for any other. No wonder Washington is in gridlock.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

I agree with you. The only

I agree with you. The only reason this is even a "story," is because J. Dwight is a member of a state advisory board. He has almost nothing to do with Gov. LePage, but because there's that slim connection, the media feeding frenzy was unleashed as soon as the police report hit the papers.

Never mind that the original reports cited an untruth -- that Dwight was supposedly appointed to the commission by Gov. LePage. Dwight was NOT appointed to the Economic Forecasting Commission by LePage -- Dwight was appointed by fellow commission members.

However, because the original media source had that glaring inaccuracy, the muckraking began.


 's picture

Remote control reporting.

Neary posted the statement below last night on AMG. It sounds like it's the SJ reporter who did not attend.

I'm pretty sure I made it to the correct court house at the correct time. Outside the courtroom, I hugged and kissed my husband. Kevin Joyce wasn't there.

JUDY MEYER's picture

Source of information

Mr. Dwight was originally scheduled to enter a plea on Aug. 18, according to court records. The plea was entered earlier than expected, so it is correct to say the SJ was not in the courtroom during the hearing. The information about who attended the hearing is sourced to conversations with the prosecutor of record and with Mr. Joyce. Information is also sourced to publicly accessible court records indicating that Mr. Joyce entered the plea on Mr. Dwight's behalf, which Mr. Joyce confirmed in a phone call.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Thank you.

The SJ needs to correct their article, and issue an apology.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

According to Adrienne,

According to Adrienne, Dwight's wife, the SJ has essential details of the story wrong.

Adrienne wrote:
"Fun fast facts:
I'm pretty sure I made it to the correct court house at the correct time.
Outside the courtroom, I hugged and kissed my husband.
Kevin Joyce wasn't there.

I'm sorry, but I may have to add incompetent to "reckless, politically motivated media", for failing to verify the simplest facts.

Once again, reckless because they couldn't wait until the court made a determination, politically motivated because they juxtaposed his political affiliation (contributions) with domestic violence, and now incompetent because the simplest of details weren't accurate."



Stepping Down for Probable Cause Only?

I have seen many cases of Domestic Violence due to frivolous reasons that were dismissed or filed. Just because someone calls the police does not make you guilty. Why would you ask him to step down until the matter is resolved? Aren't we innocent until proven guilty?

PAUL MATTSON's picture

Sounds like the Wilton Police

Sounds like the Wilton Police re-acted with little or no evidence.


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