ROXBURY — Two years spent trying to force junkyard owners to clean up their lots and get necessary permits to operate as such, all went for naught this summer for Roxbury selectmen when court cases against two Roxbury men were dismissed.

The reason? No authority from the town showed up in court to present the town’s evidence against Frederick E. Hodgkins, 51, of 679 Roxbury Notch Road, and his brother Dale A. Hodgkins, 47, of 654 Roxbury Notch Road.

Town officials, however, claim no one notified them of the court dates.

At Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting and again on Wednesday, Town Clerk Nina Hodgkins said neither she nor selectmen were notified.

Roxbury’s remaining case against Stephen Heath, 54, of 419 Roxbury Notch Road, is set for trial on Sept. 13 at Rumford District Court. But that, too, could be dismissed if the town doesn’t present evidence to back up its claim that Heath is illegally operating a junkyard, court Deputy Clerk June Smith and Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Parshall said on Wednesday.

However, because there is no statute of limitations on civil violations involving town ordinance-related issues, Roxbury selectmen can simply have the summonses reissued, said Parshall, who summoned the three men on behalf of the town.

“Unlike in criminal cases, there’s no double jeopardy,” he said.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Smith said. “The town can re-summon them.”

Still, the whole experience has left Nina Hodgkins quite frustrated.

“We tried our best to get it taken care of, because (the violations) just went on and on,” she said. “It’s frustrating. Golly, we even had the sheriff (Wayne Gallant) here to explain what steps we needed to take.”

In May 2008, Roxbury Selectmen Mark Touchette and Deborah DeRoche notified the two Hodgkins brothers and Heath that they’d violated town law on automobile junkyards. Those letters state that should the three men not address the issues with the board, Code Enforcement Officer Richard Kent would start action against them.

In 2009, Kent twice notified Heath and Frederick Hodgkins that they were violating state junkyard and auto graveyard laws, according to letters that Nina Hodgkins provided Wednesday to the Sun Journal.

Dale Hodgkins wrote on Sept. 23, 2009, that he didn’t meet the requirements for a junkyard permit, because he doesn’t own a minimum of 10 acres. Additionally, he said vehicles that come into his yard do not remain there for more than two weeks.

On Dec. 15, 2009, Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant informed selectmen about state law for junkyards, and said he’d have a deputy summon the property owners who failed to get required permits to operate junkyards.

“Roxbury did everything right,” Gallant said at that meeting. “You had your Code Enforcement Officer Rich Kent send certified letters to certain people, they were signed for, and now we can enforce the laws based on what I’ve seen tonight.”

In early January, Parshall then summoned Fred and Dale Hodgkins and Heath on charges of having an unregistered/unlicensed junkyard. Their court date was April 6. The two Hodgkin men pleaded not guilty. Dale Hodgkins got a trial date of June 14, while Fred’s trial date was set for July 12.

Heath failed to show, and was found guilty by the judge and fined $1,210.

However, after explaining why he missed that date and another, Heath’s conviction was vacated and a September trial date set, Deputy Clerk Smith said.

Parshall said he didn’t notify the town of the court dates, because he believed that was Kent’s job.

“The case files were started by CEO Kent, and I issued the three citations based on reports from the investigation by Kent,” Parshall said.

Kent, now a Rumford police officer, however, said Wednesday, that Parshall should have notified the town, saying it wasn’t his duty as a code enforcement officer to enforce town or state laws.

The problem then became exacerbated on March 1 when town meeting voters didn’t renew Kent’s contract. Kent said he turned his investigative documents and photographic evidence over to the town.

On June 14, Assistant District Attorney Joe O’Connor dismissed Roxbury’s case against Dale Hodgkins, citing insufficient evidence. A month later, Judge Daniel Driscoll dismissed the case against Fred Hodgkins, citing failure to prosecute due to lack of representation by Roxbury.

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