Today, Wednesday May 23, 2018, County Court Judge Hon. Craig S. Brown sentenced Eric Carbonaro after he pleaded guilty to two E-level felonies stemming from the desecration of the Temple Beth Shalom cemetery in 2016. Guilty pleas were previously entered to Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Mischief as a Hate Crime, and to Tampering with Evidence, relating to the destruction of electronic postings following the crime itself. The sentence included immediate incarceration in Orange County Jail until August 30, 2018, and a period of probation to follow, in addition to no less than 150 hours of community service.
     The sentencing hearing was adjourned and will resume on August 30, 2018 when the incarceration will end, and the remainder of the sentence, plus any other conditions which the Court may impose, will commence. Thereafter, the Court will again hear the case on February 19, 2019, at which time the Court will evaluate any steps towards rehabilitation and remorse shown by the defendant after his release, and impose final sentencing terms, including additional community service and whether or not to grant youthful offender status to the defendant. The import of youthful offender status is whether the defendant will have a continuing felony conviction or whether this crime will be sealed.
     Victim impact statements were presented in court by Suzanne Leon, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, and by Rabbi Rebecca Shinder, Spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom and by Sharon Ball on behalf of the Congregation of Temple Beth Shalom.
     Everyone who spoke at the sentencing, including the prosecutor, the defense counsel, victims and the Judge, made note of the need to find a balanced, just result. The factors mitigating in favor of leniency include the defendant’s youth – he was 17 years old at the time of the offense – and the hope that he can learn from this experience and become a law-abiding member of the community. Factors tending to indicate that a harsh sentence would be appropriate include the hateful, premeditated and voluntary nature of the offense itself, its impact upon the Jewish community generally and the lack of remorse shown by this defendant.
       Perhaps most importantly, in balancing these factors, Judge Brown explicitly gave the defendant the opportunity from his release from jail on August 30, 2018 to his reappearance in court on February 19, 2019 to show that he has indeed learned from his mistakes and that hateful  acts directed against any minority group are abhorrent, an offense against all citizens and are not to be tolerated by our community. 
     The Jewish Federation extends its sincere and profound gratitude to all who have contributed to this outcome, District Attorney David Hoovler, Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek, Judge Craig Brown and to the New York State Police Lt. Peter Cirigliano and Insp. Joseph Lofrese for their remarkable persistence in bringing the matter to justice.
     Jewish values have long stood for justice balanced with mercy and we believe that this disposition serves that purpose. We hope that the defendant will learn that there is no place in this life for hatred directed towards anyone and that he will take this opportunity to make amends to society and the Orange County Jewish community. 
     The Jewish Federation continues to promote tolerance and understanding by providing programs in schools and in the local communities of Orange County designed to educate all people about the terrible harm caused by antisemitism and bigotry in order to build bridges between and among all peoples.