Rockland County, NY – The New York State Supreme Court has reversed the sentence of a New Square resident who was convicted on charges of assault after setting fire to the home of a fellow village resident in May 2011 and has ordered the case back into Rockland County court for further proceedings.
As previously reported on TOT News, Shaul Spitzer accepted a plea bargain that reduced charges against him from attempted murder to assault and was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2012 for firebombing the home of Aron Rottenberg, who refused to daven in the main synagogue in New Square.
Spitzer was 18 years old at the time of the attack which left Rottenberg with burns covering more than 50 percent of his body.
Lawyers for Spitzer argued that he should have been treated as a youthful offender because of his age at the time of the attack.
New York State law requires that a youthful offender determination be made in all applicable cases, even if the defendant does not request to be treated as a youthful offender or agrees to forego youthful offender status as part of a plea bargain agreement.
A ruling issued yesterday by five judges in the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court noted that the Rockland County court that sentenced Spitzer neglected to consider whether the 18 year old should have been treated as a youthful offender and therefore order Spitzer’s sentence reversed.
The judges, Randall T. Eng, Peter B. Skelos, Leonard B. Austin, Sheri S. Roman and Colleen D. Duffy offered no opinions as to whether Spitzer should be granted youthful offender status.
Spitzer’s case will be returned to the Rockland County courthouse in New City, where the court will decide if he should have been treated as a youthful offender by the court.
“If they give him youthful offender status his sentence might be terminated because of the time he has already served or he might have to serve just a few more weeks,” Spitzer’s lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz told TOT News.
Spitzer will remain incarcerated at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York, a maximum security prison until the outcome of his case is decided.
Gribetz said he expects Spitzer’s case to be back in the Rockland County courthouse within the next few weeks.