After a two-hour bench trial in on Wednesday, were cleared of all charges brought against them this summer stemming from a raid at their Amagansett clam stand and home.
Justice found the brother and sister not guilty on several State Department of Environment charges.
In July, DEC officers went to the Lesters' property on Abraham's Path, , and sold them to the local fish market.
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.
Daniel G. Rodgers, the Lesters' attorney, said the prosecution had no proof. "I asked the officer: Did you see Kelly Lester sell any shellfish? 'No,'" was the response, Rodgers said. He said the answer was 'no' to all of the questions regarding the officers actually seeing the Lester commit the alleged violation. "They had no case," he said.
The prosecution called the DEC officers and a technician, to validate fishing records, to testify.
The defense put Stuart Vorphal of Amagansett on the stand. Vorphal gave expert opinion as baymen and fisherman who has fished the East Hampton waters for more than 60 years, according to the Rodgers.
While the DEC officer testified that the Lesters had untagged containers of fish and that the catch should have been tagged "upon landing" at a dock, Rodgers asked how someone in a 14-foot wooden boat could be expected to carry all the necessary equipment to tag fish.
Vorphal established for the defense that it was an impossibility for baymen and historically not done because it wasn't feasible, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the Lesters "are just over the moon, very very happy."
On Thursday, Rodgers said, the DEC will be sent a bill for $202.75. That's how much the fish was worth that the officers sold after confiscating it. "That's their dinner. You're paying," Rodger said.