Jeffrey Clay

JEFFREY CLAY

CONCORD — The state's highest court upheld the conviction of a local man who twice was taken from Alton Board of Selectmen's meetings in handcuffs.

A panel of three Supreme Court justices on Thursday affirmed a lower court's decision that found Jeffrey Clay guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting detention charges stemming from arrests at meetings in February 2017.

Clay was most recently arrested for disrupting the local government business session by continuing to speak without identifying the specific agenda item he was discussing.

He was subsequently arrested for resisting detention when a police officer told him he had to leave and tried to remove him from the table where he was seated in front of the board.

After that trial, a judge dismissed one of the disorderly conduct charges against Clay but convicted him on the other two offenses.

The Supreme Court panel wrote Clay was repeatedly warned he was speaking out of turn and would be removed from the building if he persisted.

"At trial, the defendant conceded that the arresting officer was 'pulling his arm.' Though he also explained that he 'was trying to prevent something...bad happening,' the trial judge was not required to accept this explanation for his physical resistance," wrote Associate Justices Gary Hicks, James Bassett and Anna Barbara Hantz Marconi in their opinion.

In December, Clay sued to the town charging it with multiple violations of the state's Right-to-Know law.

Clay maintains that selectmen violated the Town of Alton Personnel Manual and state law concerning the appointment of two of their own — Reuben Wentworth and Virgil Macdonald — as commissioners to the Alton Water Works.

klandrigan@unionleader.com