By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — CROWN POINT — A charge of possessing stolen property against Crown Point Town Justice Arthur Miclette has been dropped, and he is back on the bench.
Miclette, 59, was arrested by State Police in October 2013 on a misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
He was cleared this month when prosecutors dropped the charge against him “in the interest of justice.”
Miclette had tools at his automobile-repair business in Crown Point that were the property of Champlain Valley Technical Educational Center in Mineville, where he had been employed as an instructor.
He contended he took the tools before he retired from CV-TEC and forgot to return them.
The charge was dismissed in Schroon Town Court at the request of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.
The case had been turned over to the Washington County DA because the Essex County District Attorney’s Office regularly dealt with Miclette as a town justice and had a conflict of interest.
‘UPFRONT AND HONEST’
He stepped down as justice after the arrest, saying he would resume his post when he was cleared of the charge.
Ticonderoga Town Justice Keith Dolbeck had handled Miclette’s caseload while it was pending.
Miclette first held court again on Feb. 13.
“Yes, I am back,” he said Monday. “I started back last week. It’s all cleared. It’s back to business as usual.”
He said he doesn’t harbor any ill feeling toward State Police, who came to his garage, Village Auto in Crown Point, with a search warrant before finding the tools from CV-TEC.
When the troopers arrived at his garage, he said, he told them exactly what had happened with the tools.
“The State Police were following instructions from their bosses. I was upfront and honest with them. I wasn’t trying to hide anything.”
An accusation was made by a disgruntled former employee at his Village Auto business, Miclette said, and police felt they had to act on it.
Miclette was represented by attorney Joseph Brennan of Glens Falls.
In an unrelated matter, he had been censured by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in 2009 for alleged misconduct that included acting on a claim he filed in his own court to collect money owed to Village Auto for repairs.
The commission praised Miclette in its ruling for being cooperative during the proceedings.
Miclette has served as Crown Point justice since January 2000. The post is up for re-election in 2015.
Email Lohr McKinstry:firstname.lastname@example.org