Judge: More than fines needed to make a point
By Bill Demarest
NYACK – After a period of relative calm, Nyack’s Village Court session on Thursday included nine cases of visitors to the village who were accused of participating in late-night fights along Main Street.
While the usual punishment is a $250 fine, that was not the case during this court session.
Nyack Village Attorney Walter Sevastian, who represents the village in such court cases, said that on Thursday village Judge Robert Knoebel Jr. required this group to perform from 15 to 20 hours of community service as their punishment. If they didn’t like it, they could always take their case to trial.
Sevastian said all of the cases in court Thursday involved out-of-town residents – ranging from New City to the Bronx – who were involved in alcohol-related fights on or along Main Street in Nyack. While such cases had become common in Nyack Village Court, Sevastian said there appeared to be a slowdown in such cases recently.
While Sevastian said the village would prefer the $250 fines – which would go toward revenue supporting the court and the village – the court-ordered community service was meant to send a clear message to those involved with late-night brawls that they would not be able to come to Nyack, create a problem and get out of it by just writing a check.
The community service orders require those involved to perform work for a non-profit organization and to provide proof that they completed that community service. Over the past year, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several cases in Clarkstown where a person ordered to perform community service falsely reported the service had been completed. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said his office got involved because of an increase in such incidents