Kelly and Paul Lester are headed back to court — this time to get the $202.25 they say the state office that arrested them last summer owes them.
The were brought against them stemming from a raid at their Amagansett clam stand and home. After a trial in October, Justice found the brother and sister not guilty on several State Department of Environment violations.
DEC officers had 74.5 lbs of fluke and 16 lbs of scup and sold them to for $202.25, according to Daniel G. Rodgers, who represented the Lesters at trial.
He said one box of 50 lbs of fluke legally belonged to Paul and Kelly's brother James Lester and that the tag with his name on it was on the ground next to the box. The remaining 24.5 lbs of fluke and the 16 lbs of scup were on a table being prepared by L J Arceri for Lester family's dinner that night.
Kelly was initially charged with a misdemeanor for the alleged sale of shellfish to the public without a permit, but the charge was later dropped to a violation at arraignment. Paul was charged with possession of untagged fluke and possession of over the limit fluke, which are violations, not considered a criminal offense under the statute.
Paul happened into the market at the time a DEC officer was making the sale and asked for his fish back, Rodger said. There is no process in place for fishermen to fight for their catch.
Rodgers said his clients waited to see if the DEC would pay up after the acquittal. Two weeks ago, they filed a "Demand for Payment," a legal action, stating they will take all necessary measures. They've yet to receive a response.
"The DEC took their fish without their permission, in any other explanation, that is the classic definition of theft (Petit Larceny, NYS Penal Law 155.25)," Rodgers said in an email on Monday. "They stole their fish, they must pay for it or be charged with a crime," he said.