Embattled Princetown Justice William Reynolds tendered his resignation Tuesday, vowing to fight the misdemeanor charges filed against him last week but refusing to remain a spectacle of the media.
The 56-year-old justice said his resignation is in the best interest of his community in wake of his arrest last week. Reynolds also blasted the “undue and highly inaccurate” media coverage of his arrest in the succinct letter addressed to Jeffrey Wait, the supervising judge of town and village justice courts.
“I intend to vigorously defend the charges and will engage in counsel in that regard,” he stated in the missive. “However, given that I originally ran for this office solely out of a strong sense of civic-mindedness and not for personal aggrandizement, that same philosophy drives my decision to step down at this time. Ultimately, although I am confident I will be exonerated, this decision is simply best for my community at this time.”
Reynolds sent a copy of his resignation letter to Princetown Town Supervisor Michael Joyce, who couldn’t be reached for comment late Tuesday evening.
Reynolds is awaiting arraignment on counts of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Town Court this evening, although the case is expected to be adjourned until another venue can be found.
State police investigators responded to Reynolds’ residence sometime during the evening on St. Patrick’s Day after receiving a report of gunfire. Responding troopers indicated Reynolds was uncooperative upon their arrival, then attempted to resist when they tried to take him into custody.
State police and Department of Environmental Conservation officers conducted a joint investigation. An official with the DEC indicated earlier this week that Reynolds also faces a charge of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, an unclassified misdemeanor.
The criminal case against Reynolds, a self-employed attorney, came just three months into his first four-year term as the town’s sole justice. He won election in November over Michelle Van Woeart, who had served as justice since 1997
Last week, Reynolds voluntarily agreed to suspend his duties in the court until he can resolve his criminal case. The two justices in neighboring Rotterdam agreed to alternate taking the bench in Princetown during his absence.
The incident also prompted Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney to recuse himself from the prosecution. It was unclear Tuesday how Reynolds’ resignation will affect the proceedings as they move forward.