Fishermen charged in Truck Beach trespassing claim delay in process violates due process
East Hampton fishermen gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Riverhead last week to speak out against actions related to a civil case which they say not only deprive them of their beach rights, but threaten their right to due process.
Last month, a Suffolk County Supreme Court judge temporarily delayed criminal proceedings against the 14 East Hampton residents cited for trespassing on an Amagansett beach known as Truck Beach and long popular for 4×4 vehicles. The men were given the summons in an act of civil disobedience on October 17 which they hoped would serve as a test for beach access. A court ruling earlier this year declared the beach private property, but that ruling also upheld a fishing easement.
A lawyer for neighboring residents has filed a request to transfer the criminal violations to existing civil proceedings, although Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Paul Baisley Jr. has yet to rule on the request.
Eleven of the 14 men accused of trespassing appeared on the steps of the courthouse on Thursday to protest the case.
âIt has always been a right,â said Greg Monaco, a driver from East Hampton who was charged with trespassing at the protest and said his grandfather was a bayman. “It’s called Truck Beach, isn’t it?” They [oceanfront homeowners] knew the rules when they bought the house, they knew what the deed said. “
Stephen Angel, a Riverhead-based attorney representing the owners, filed the claim on November 3. The order, if granted, would remove the 14 trespassing summons and consolidate them with the civil action that has been in state court since 2009. The case was decided after the Court of Appeals for l The state denied East Hampton Town’s appeal in September.
Angel could not immediately be reached for comment.
Dan Rodgers, who represents the men charged with trespassing, said he was considering filing a class action lawsuit against the landlords on behalf of all residents of East Hampton Town.
âWe think the owners first stole the beach and now they’re stealing their rights,â he said. “The owners have caused damage not only to these commercial and recreational fisheries, but also to every resident of the city.”
Meanwhile, East Hampton Town attorneys are also opposing the motion to consolidate the civil trespassing charge cases. They are also asking the court to overturn or vary a June prohibition order ordering the city to ban people from the beach.
“This request is unprecedented, unauthorized by law and beyond the jurisdiction of the Court,” East Hampton outside lawyer Christopher McDonald wrote of the request for consolidation in a memorandum of law. November 19.
Regarding the restraining order, McDonald said it “went beyond the limited injunction granted in the final judgment and failed to recognize the public’s easement rights.”
Rodgers said he was concerned the Truck Beach case could set a precedent and influence other orders relating to the Hamptons’ beachfront properties to bring a lawsuit to ban the public from sand.
“What will happen to our beaches that we are famous for,” he said.
New in the “Truck Beach” case:
Fishermen charged with criminal trespassing in October said delay in proceedings violated their due process rights
Attorney Dan Rodgers said he plans to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all East Hampton residents against the beachfront owners.
East Hampton Town attorneys have asked a judge not to bundle 14 trespassing violations with a civil motion and to set aside or vary a previous restraining order