District attorney explains Evergreen fire plea deal

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh says his office only accepted a plea deal with the condition that at least one defendant admitted their recklessness.

Veronica Jean Seltzer

Sep 20, 2023, 9:33 PM

Updated 303 days ago


Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh is speaking out for the first time about the plea deal Wednesday that angered many in his community.
Several fire departments called on him to step down after learning, over the summer, the rabbis accused in the deadly Evergreen Fire would likely only face probation.
Now, Walsh says his office only accepted a plea with the condition at least one defendant admit their recklessness. He says that will help the victim's families' civil cases.
He adds trials can be emotionally taxing and make it harder to guarantee the outcome, especially because he says the investigation found evidence that would make the prosecution challenging.
"The gravity of these decisions weighed heavily on us...justice isn't a one-size-fits-all concept, and it does not always mean incarceration; it's multifaceted and must take into account various factors, including intent and the specific circumstances of the crime," Walsh said.
He explains he didn't speak out sooner because it wasn't appropriate until after sentencing.

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