Appeals Panel Cuts Trojan’s Attempted Murder Sentence For Slashing Clarkstown Inspector

Russell Trojan got a five-year break from a state Appellate Divison panel.

The four-judge panel sliced his state prison sentence from 25 years to 20 years on the top felony count of second-degree attempted murder.

A Rockland jury had convicted Trojan of stabbing a Clarkstown code enforcement officer Jeffery Meara, who was photographing abandoned, rundown cars on Trojan’s property at 12 Jerrys Ave. as part of issuing Trojan violation summonses in April 2007. Trojan, then 51, a former Nanuet Civic Association activist, attacked the code enforcement officer, stabbing him multiple times in the arms, hand and chest.

The Appellate Division panel cut the sentence given to Trojan by Judge Catherine Bartlett in July 2008 “as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice.” The jury also convicted Trojan of first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Trojan faced a sentence of five to 25 years. Prosecutor Stephen Moore asked for the maximum, citing the crime’s brutality. Moore said if not for a neighbor’s heroics in pulling Trojan off Meara, it was likely Meara would have been killed. The panel rejected Trojan’s contention that the Rockland District Attorney’s Office failed to prove his guilt by legally sufficient evidence because he was not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.

“Upon reviewing the record here, we are satisfied that the verdict of guilt was not against the weight of the evidence ….” panel ruled. “The People offered expert testimony to rebut the testimony of the defense expert that the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect of severity sufficient to interfere with his ability to form the intent to commit the crime.”

Lois Cappelletti of the Rockland Public Defender’s Office filed the appeal on Trojan’s behalf. In opposition, the Rockland District Attorney’s Office was represented by its appeals attorney Itamar J. Yeger and Nava Naftaly.

Read the decision.

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.