BY JANE MEGGITT
Upper Freehold Township Committeeman William Miscoski pleaded guilty last week to two charges stemming from a June altercation with state troopers at the scene of a fire at his father-in-law’s house.
"I did what I had to do [regarding his plea] in the best interest of my family, both financially and emotionally," Miscoski said after the Feb. 27 municipal court hearing.
"The craziness had to stop so we could all get on with our lives," he added.
Miscoski, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of preventing a public servant from lawfully performing an official function and one count of disorderly conduct.
Miscoski’s son, Ryan, 22, pleaded guilty to a municipal ordinance violation.
Judge Robert C. Blum of Freehold Borough Municipal Court fined William Miscoski $500 in court costs.
Blum agreed with John Sitzler, Miscoski’s attorney, that Miscoski did not have to perform any community service because he had served the township in many capacities over the years.
"If he has been a public servant for so long in Cream Ridge, he has to be doing something right," Blum said. "All people make dumb mistakes. This happens to be one of them."
Blum said if he did sentence Miscoski to community service, it would be done in Cream Ridge.
"I don’t think you could receive a bigger embarrassment than the media coverage you’ve had since June," Blum told Miscoski. "Put this behind us. We’d be duplicating to give you community service in Cream Ridge."
Last July, Miscoski and his son pleaded not guilty to charges of resisting arrest, obstructing justice, simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Miscoski said then that the truth "will come to light" and that when the matter came to trial, he expected to be exonerated.
State police said at the time of the arrests that Miscoski had tried to enter the burning building at 19 Arneytown-Hornerstown Road and became belligerent when emergency services personnel barred him from doing so.
State police also said then that Miscoski pushed Trooper Michael Budrewicz, which led to the simple assault charge.
Ryan Miscoski entered the fray as a result of the altercation between his father and the trooper, the state police said at the time.
At some point during the scuffle, officers used pepper spray to restrain the two men, police said.
In previous interviews, Miscoski disputed the state police’s version and said that the fire had been put out by the time he had arrived.
Sitzler said that there were internal complaints generated against the state police and that he would issue a civil release and letter of apology for the troopers’ personnel file.
Ryan Miscoski pleaded guilty to a municipal ordinance violation that Blum described as "not listening or paying attention, some sort of disorderly conduct."
Frank Armenante, Ryan Miscoski’s attorney, read a statement for his client, whom he described as "young and shy."
Ryan Miscoski admitted in the statement that he had gone to his grandfather’s house and "made a mistake.
"I apologize to the police officers for not responding properly [to] instruction," he said.
His father also apologized to the officers.
"I have been a strong supporter of the state police," Miscoski said. "I think they do a wonderful job. I apologize for the disturbance I caused that night."
Blum sentenced Ryan Miscoski to 10 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a $1,200 fine, plus court courts, and also submit to drug and alcohol evaluations through the Monmouth County Probation Department.
Deputy municipal Prosecutor Scott Basem said he wanted to make sure there were no future incidents.
"This became a dangerous issue," Basem said. "If you need to deal with these issues, you need to deal with them, so neither the Miscoskis nor the troopers are put into this again. We realize he is a young man."
"Get your act together, go on with your life and put the other stuff behind us," Judge Blum told him.
Blum typically presides over Freehold Borough municipal court, but agreed to handle the case at the Upper Freehold municipal court in his role as presiding judge over all municipal courts in Monmouth County.
"I have no ties with Upper Freehold Township," Blum said.
Basem said that he did not know the parties involved and did not feel it was a conflict for him to handle the case.