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Rockland County, NY - New Square Arsonist’s Sentence Reversed, New Verdict To Be Determined By County Court

Published on: July 2, 2015 12:39 PM
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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 VIN 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 VIN 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.


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Read Comments (38)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 02, 2015 at 01:15 PM Ina Says:

"Youthful Offender"?! Give me a break! There are 14 year olds who are tried as adults. He was 18 years old -- an adult and was rightfully tried as such. What is going on here?!

2

 Jul 02, 2015 at 01:36 PM The_Truth Says:

Its so sad that yidden can end up doing terrible crimes like this (especially to other yidden) all under the pretenses of being frum. I hope he and the entire community learn from this event and its outcome that no good can come out of shunning people from the community.

3

 Jul 02, 2015 at 01:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Thank G-d I'm not a lawyer. Methinks that the legal question to answer is: Does immaturity that results in destructive, criminal behavior qualify for "youthful offender" status?

4

 Jul 02, 2015 at 02:04 PM Insider Says:

The kid made a mistake. He pled guilty and accepted responsiblity. He received a strong dose of punishment. It's time to let him go and to become a productive member of society.

5

 Jul 02, 2015 at 02:19 PM lavrenty Says:

I dont get it, he was 18.

6

 Jul 02, 2015 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

political payback for delivering big blocs of democratic votes. Subvert the law for a dangerous arsonist.

7

 Jul 02, 2015 at 03:17 PM lavrenty Says:

Reply to #4  
Insider Says:

The kid made a mistake. He pled guilty and accepted responsiblity. He received a strong dose of punishment. It's time to let him go and to become a productive member of society.

"become a productive member of society" what skills does he have?

8

 Jul 02, 2015 at 03:17 PM Yossi Says:

Reply to #2  
The_Truth Says:

Its so sad that yidden can end up doing terrible crimes like this (especially to other yidden) all under the pretenses of being frum. I hope he and the entire community learn from this event and its outcome that no good can come out of shunning people from the community.

its more sad to see yidden like YOU who have a problem with a bucher who is already 3 years in prison and his victim received 2 million dollars compensation go free. What do YOU gain by him staying in prison? Don't you think he served his punishment? if 5 appellate judge see something wrong who don't you see it wrong?!!!! Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.
So please!!!! TRACHT before you POST!!!!!

9

 Jul 02, 2015 at 03:52 PM sheepheadsbayyid Says:

Reply to #8  
Yossi Says:

its more sad to see yidden like YOU who have a problem with a bucher who is already 3 years in prison and his victim received 2 million dollars compensation go free. What do YOU gain by him staying in prison? Don't you think he served his punishment? if 5 appellate judge see something wrong who don't you see it wrong?!!!! Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.
So please!!!! TRACHT before you POST!!!!!

Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.


that can be said of every single person in prison.

10

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:22 PM zoifunny Says:

Reply to #8  
Yossi Says:

its more sad to see yidden like YOU who have a problem with a bucher who is already 3 years in prison and his victim received 2 million dollars compensation go free. What do YOU gain by him staying in prison? Don't you think he served his punishment? if 5 appellate judge see something wrong who don't you see it wrong?!!!! Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.
So please!!!! TRACHT before you POST!!!!!

Right. I agree with your point of view as one side of the coin. However, you can also choose to think about the family of the victim... The victim could've been YOUR son god forbid, if we are not going to punish such irresponsible activity...

Also BTW I don't see where #2 'The_Truth' is implying that the kid in prison should not be released. He's only lecturing the communities that shuns certain people.....

Anyway, in this particular case I tend to see it your way, and I'm praying for his release, and I hope this kid will grab his 2nd chance in life and use it wisely. (Because hopefully the lesson has been learned already, and I'm not sure he was ever given a 1st chance....)

11

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:24 PM ExpatriateOwl Says:

Remember that he is taking the fall for the Rebbe!

12

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Yossi Says:

its more sad to see yidden like YOU who have a problem with a bucher who is already 3 years in prison and his victim received 2 million dollars compensation go free. What do YOU gain by him staying in prison? Don't you think he served his punishment? if 5 appellate judge see something wrong who don't you see it wrong?!!!! Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.
So please!!!! TRACHT before you POST!!!!!

Shame oln you...this was attempted murder of an entire Mishpocha.

13

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:29 PM yellowzebra Says:

so does this mean that he apologized for what he did and admitted he was wrong, or do we just say he was 18 and didn't really mean to try and kill another jew (shh lets forget he tried to kill him)

14

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:32 PM MAYERFREUND Says:

If you know what square is all about you can understand that he is a victim himself because he was brainwashed from childhood till the day he was arrested.

15

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:37 PM yosher Says:

Reply to #10  
zoifunny Says:

Right. I agree with your point of view as one side of the coin. However, you can also choose to think about the family of the victim... The victim could've been YOUR son god forbid, if we are not going to punish such irresponsible activity...

Also BTW I don't see where #2 'The_Truth' is implying that the kid in prison should not be released. He's only lecturing the communities that shuns certain people.....

Anyway, in this particular case I tend to see it your way, and I'm praying for his release, and I hope this kid will grab his 2nd chance in life and use it wisely. (Because hopefully the lesson has been learned already, and I'm not sure he was ever given a 1st chance....)

What's going on here? This young man is a criminal who tried to kill an entire Mishpocha. Ha-Merachem Al Achzarim.....

16

 Jul 02, 2015 at 05:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Can anyone here tell us what the halacha is for his crime?

17

 Jul 02, 2015 at 04:47 PM Yossi Says:

Reply to #9  
sheepheadsbayyid Says:

Because its NOT your son.!!!! If your son would be suffering in a maximum prison for 3 years I believe you would want him home.


that can be said of every single person in prison.

You are 100% right that this could be said on every prisoner.
The FACT is that there is NO country in the Western world that punishes criminals the way the Americans punish.
Do you really believe that Rubashkin or Samet deserve sentences of 24-27 years on a white collar crime. The two of them have over 10 kids each and a wife and family. When you sentence a father for so many years you take away a Father from the kids and a Husband from the wife.
Don't you think that 5 years prison and 3 years home arrest or any lesser sentence would send a lesson to the person charged?
The justice dept. is considering reducing prison time for drug dealers because they finally realized that those sentences do NO justice to the criminal and govt.
It cost too much $$$ to keep them locked up and they can become better if they get proper counseling. The same applies to white collar crimes.

18

 Jul 02, 2015 at 05:18 PM heyward Says:

Mr. spitzer was very close to burning Mr. Rottenberg to ashes's. A husband and a father of children. How are you going to substantiate on such a violent act. Put yourself in a position if this would happen to one of your family members. Never mind the Millions that Mr. Rottenberg received. Lets not forget the agony and the pain this men suffered. He is damaged for life..... The final verdict. "Jail Time"

19

 Jul 02, 2015 at 05:58 PM Uselogic Says:

Reply to #10  
zoifunny Says:

Right. I agree with your point of view as one side of the coin. However, you can also choose to think about the family of the victim... The victim could've been YOUR son god forbid, if we are not going to punish such irresponsible activity...

Also BTW I don't see where #2 'The_Truth' is implying that the kid in prison should not be released. He's only lecturing the communities that shuns certain people.....

Anyway, in this particular case I tend to see it your way, and I'm praying for his release, and I hope this kid will grab his 2nd chance in life and use it wisely. (Because hopefully the lesson has been learned already, and I'm not sure he was ever given a 1st chance....)

That's correct, he wasn't given a first chance.

20

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
yosher Says:

What's going on here? This young man is a criminal who tried to kill an entire Mishpocha. Ha-Merachem Al Achzarim.....

On what basis are you saying that? He was found guilty for assault of one person, not attempted killing for an entire family. Are you running your own courthouse???

21

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:07 PM Insider Says:

Reply to #7  
lavrenty Says:

"become a productive member of society" what skills does he have?

Like every other "boy" in yeshiva at that age, he has no marketable skill other than possibly being and aleph-beis rebbe. However, now that he has gained the hard experience of being punished for doing wrong, he will fear committing a crime for the rest of his life. He probably will never get a parking ticket.

22

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:13 PM incognito rav Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Can anyone here tell us what the halacha is for his crime?

We do not know his intention at the time he lit the fire (was it on Shabbos ?).
If he intended to create a prank, then he must pay money for the damages, medical bills, etc.
If he intended to harm or kill, then he deserves the worst.
However, we must accept the decision of the secular (appeals) court. They have considerable experience in dealing with criminal acts.
Heaven guides all events.

23

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:13 PM Anonymous Says:

He tried to kill an entire family by burning them to death. Even though the Rabbi ordered it, this 18 year old (at the time) should have known that burning people to death might just be illegal. What if the Rabbi instructs him again to wipe out a Frum family? I would be very concerned if I lived in New Square. Everyone needs to have security cameras and alarms 24/7. If the Ruv is upset, it could mean doomsday for a nice family!!!

24

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:28 PM alterknaker Says:

Where are all the so calles KIRUV pteachers? Or only when it comes to these farsholtene tzionim only then kiruv applies?

25

 Jul 02, 2015 at 06:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Agreed he should be judged by beis din shel maalah....question is how to get such an adjudication sooner rather than later. Something might c'v happen to him while still in prison awaiting a court decision on his new trial...nebach....

26

 Jul 02, 2015 at 07:20 PM ConcernedMember Says:

This is a fiasco. The arsonist was 18 at the time. That makes him an adult. If someone is trying to argue that he has diminished mental capacity (in other words he doesn't know right from wrong) then that should have been a part of the original trial, not years later. If he was 14 there could be a debate, but 18? 18 is an adult in our justice system, period. What kind of political jockeying is this?

27

 Jul 02, 2015 at 08:52 PM Throw away the key! Says:

I have not an ounce of mercy for this man. He attempted to murder an entire family of Jews. He was a Rodef and should have been killed on the spot. Let him rot in prison. I will let Hashem decide about forgiveness once his time is up.

28

 Jul 02, 2015 at 09:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

On what basis are you saying that? He was found guilty for assault of one person, not attempted killing for an entire family. Are you running your own courthouse???

By lighting the house on fire, he would have killed the entire family. If they release him, what if he tries to burn down my house? I'm petrified the Rebbi will decide I have to die next.

29

 Jul 02, 2015 at 10:20 PM ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

Reply to #4  
Insider Says:

The kid made a mistake. He pled guilty and accepted responsiblity. He received a strong dose of punishment. It's time to let him go and to become a productive member of society.

productive member? he cant read, write or perform 3rd grade math, thanks to the wonderful school system he went to. how productive will he be?

30

 Jul 02, 2015 at 11:27 PM yankee96 Says:

This whole story is a sad indictment on the pressure/ brainwashing done in Sqver as well as other mosdos,Litvishe and Chassidishe to keep their "Chassidim" in line and in check,and not straying from the "fold"," .etc.

The fault as always lies at the feet of the leaders/manhigim and extremists in every mosod who dream up new mishigassim every week that everyone has to dance to ,all L'Shem Shamayim
of course

Belzer women not allowed to drive in England,,Bobov "48" bochurim MUST go learn in Israel,or everyone MUST travel with Rebbe to support mosdos in Israel,Lubavitcher Mishichisten and pictures at every Simcha in Crown Hts,Tznius police in WillyB with their sneak attacks of Sheitelich in middle of the street,throwing shtenders in middle of davening in Poneveshz urged on by extremists/hot heads.

In Monsey it led to attempted murder by a Bochur on an entire mishpacha!! Unbelievable

A new level of meshigah ,all L' Shem Shamayim!!!

We always say for good things done Me Keamcha Yisroel and look up to Shamayim,but when Shamayim looks back at us what to WE appear as?

31

 Jul 03, 2015 at 01:42 AM Chaim! Says:

Reply to #21  
Insider Says:

Like every other "boy" in yeshiva at that age, he has no marketable skill other than possibly being and aleph-beis rebbe. However, now that he has gained the hard experience of being punished for doing wrong, he will fear committing a crime for the rest of his life. He probably will never get a parking ticket.

I think u have a better chance to get hit by lightning than getting a parking ticket in New Sqaure.

The boy is a victim too. A victim of Brainwash!! Nebech that he's paying a dear price for allowing himself to be brainwashed like this.
Hope The Rothenberg family are doing well where they are and they find place in their hearts to forgive and put this all behind them.
The rest is up to the one above.

32

 Jul 03, 2015 at 01:53 AM pinktfarkert Says:

In a situation like this, it is best to follow the advice of Chazal, סייג לחכמה שתיקה

33

 Jul 03, 2015 at 05:06 AM Mayer Alter Says:

Reply to #29  
ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

productive member? he cant read, write or perform 3rd grade math, thanks to the wonderful school system he went to. how productive will he be?

He can be the most productive member of society: a kollel avreich. There is no greater level of production in society than sitting and learning. No doubt the Rebbe Ateres Rosheinu Shlita will find a allo for him and a kollel with a nice fat stipend. He deserves no less for being the Rebbe's fall guy.

34

 Jul 03, 2015 at 08:24 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Insider Says:

The kid made a mistake. He pled guilty and accepted responsiblity. He received a strong dose of punishment. It's time to let him go and to become a productive member of society.

He firebombed a family in the middle of the night while they were sleeping.

It's time to let him go? Seriously? why don't you let Charles Manson go and let him be a productive member of society?

35

 Jul 03, 2015 at 08:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

Agreed he should be judged by beis din shel maalah....question is how to get such an adjudication sooner rather than later. Something might c'v happen to him while still in prison awaiting a court decision on his new trial...nebach....

AGREED? Agreed by whom?

Is it your misguided belief that there is no purpose for courts and prisons? everything should be judged by bais din shel maalah?

You make a joke of even the concept of frumkeit. Let this guy go, let him move next door to you, and I'll convince him that you daven in other towns. then let's see how well you sleep at night.

36

 Jul 03, 2015 at 08:54 AM Chaim! Says:

Reply to #7  
lavrenty Says:

"become a productive member of society" what skills does he have?

It's sad to say that this boy probably has more skills and a better education now than before he went in.

37

 Jul 03, 2015 at 10:03 AM MK Says:

Reply to #17  
Yossi Says:

You are 100% right that this could be said on every prisoner.
The FACT is that there is NO country in the Western world that punishes criminals the way the Americans punish.
Do you really believe that Rubashkin or Samet deserve sentences of 24-27 years on a white collar crime. The two of them have over 10 kids each and a wife and family. When you sentence a father for so many years you take away a Father from the kids and a Husband from the wife.
Don't you think that 5 years prison and 3 years home arrest or any lesser sentence would send a lesson to the person charged?
The justice dept. is considering reducing prison time for drug dealers because they finally realized that those sentences do NO justice to the criminal and govt.
It cost too much $$$ to keep them locked up and they can become better if they get proper counseling. The same applies to white collar crimes.

Let the Justice system play it self out. No special treatment for anybody. If some1 expects to be above the law soon they will become below the law. If some1 disrespects, makes a joke out of the Justice system and don't admit guilt, blames all on AntiS like R Samet and R Rubashkin they should get a harsher treatment ה"י. Of course if this would be my brother I would say differently but that doesn't make it right.

38

 Jul 03, 2015 at 12:32 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #27  
Throw away the key! Says:

I have not an ounce of mercy for this man. He attempted to murder an entire family of Jews. He was a Rodef and should have been killed on the spot. Let him rot in prison. I will let Hashem decide about forgiveness once his time is up.

So you are saying to Hashem "Let him rot in prison." and only "once his time is up" you let Hashem decide.... as if Hashem is committed to your nonsense.

39

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