Did You Know?

The Rockland County District Attorney's website features useful descriptions and photos of the county's most common street drugs. Crime prevention starts with you! Visit our Drug Task Force page.

Fast Fact:

Every Rockland County police department is assigned Community Prosecutors, each possessing unique knowledge of their jurisdiction. Local residents can help make a difference by engaging directly with prosecutors from the Rockland County District Attorney's Office, contacting local police departments and utilizing the RCDA's Web site, RocklandCountyDA.com.

District Attorney Zugibe Receives National Award For Creative Leadership In Community Prosecution

Photo of awards ceremony

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe was honored recently by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) with their Innovative Community Engagement (I.C.E.) Award, an accolade recognizing individuals and prosecution offices that have demonstrated creative leadership in community prosecution.

The award is reserved for those who incorporate innovative crime-reduction strategies, work collaboratively within their communities and rely on evidence-based decision-making to create safer neighborhoods.

Zugibe was honored for his effective community prosecution strategies, which have resulted in lower crime and positive changes in criminal behavior. Also recognized was his commitment to keeping Rockland County among the safest places in the nation to live and raise a family.

Zugibe was recognized at the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys National Community Prosecution Conference on September 27th at the Capital Hilton in Washington DC.

Major Cases File: Kelly McElroy

Photo of Kelly McElroy

On October 4th, District Attorney Zugibe announced that 32-year-old Kelly McElroy of Stony Point, New York pled guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter and Driving While Intoxicated in the death of her husband.

On January 24th, 2010, McElroy struck her husband, Glenn, with the couple's 2008 white Toyota Camry in the midst of a heated argument. Mr. McElroy suffered severe head injuries and died January 30th, after being removed from life support.

The plea agreement was reached after a thorough examination of the evidence by several nationally recognized experts, including biomechanical engineering consultant Dr. Leon Kazarian of Wright State University and Richard Hermance, President of Collision Research Ltd., a respected accident reconstruction firm providing traffic reconstruction analysis and testimony. Kazarian was one of the experts involved in reconstructing the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986.

The exhaustive reconstruction of the incident found that Glenn McElroy's injuries were consistent with a low-speed collision with the car. Evidence collected at the scene and from the vehicle revealed that the victim's leg had been caught in the wheel well, causing him to fall and strike his head on the street. Dr. Kazarian determined the death could not be proved as deliberate.

Thank you for reading the Fall 2010 e-newsletter from Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. We developed this newsletter to keep you up-to-date on our efforts to enhance your quality of life through robust law enforcement, successful prosecution and innovative prevention efforts.

We hope you find this information useful and invite you to visit our website for more about our office, Community Prosecution efforts, victim services and answers to frequently asked questions.

Fall 2010 issue's highlights:

"Spirit of Rockland" Special Victims Center – A Vision Becomes Reality

Photo of wall mural and small table in the Special Victim's CenterAfter more than two years of planning, heavy lifting and dedication, the "Spirit of Rockland" Special Victims Center is ready to serve the county's most vulnerable residents.

Under the leadership of District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe, the Center was unveiled in December 2008. The 3,000-square foot facility - made possible by the remarkable generosity of local businesses, labor organizations and private citizens - will fully support special victims as their cases move through the criminal justice system.

Located on the campus of Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, the Special Victims Center provides proper care and support to crime victims with special needs. By partnering prosecutors, law enforcement, advocacy, medical and mental health and social service agencies in one secure location, victims are assured that all available resources are brought to bear against the offenders responsible for the heinous crimes.

The Center includes space for the District Attorneys office, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Social Services and Victims Advocates. Custom paintings and murals in examination rooms and waiting areas create a warm and comfortable environment.

The "Spirit of Rockland" Special Victims Center was designed and constructed free of charge, at no cost to local taxpayers. In addition, Good Samaritan Hospital is providing rent-free use of the space

District Attorney Zugibe wishes to thank the dozens of companies, professional organizations and tradesmen and women that have donated funds, materials, time and hard work for the project. For more information on the SVC, visit our Special Victims Unit page.

DMI Confronts Suspected Drug Dealers In Haverstraw

Photo of District Attorney Thomas ZugibePowerful. Emotional. Successful. Three adjectives that describe the Rockland County District Attorney's first Drug Market Intervention "Call-In," held on October 21st in the Village of Haverstraw.

DMI is a federally-funded program designed to eliminate open-air drug markets. In Haverstraw, local police and detectives from the Rockland County Drug Task Force targeted different areas of the village by identifying drug dealers via undercover drug buys. Law enforcement identified eight drug dealers — one woman, seven men, ranging in age from 19 to 54 –  in various locations throughout the village.

Once identified as street-level drug dealers, police checked each candidates' background to learn if they could be rehabilitated. The offenders then attended the October 21st "Call-In, "where they were shown the evidence against them and given an opportunity to change or be arrested.

All eight offenders who attended the meeting signed on to the program. Each has been evaluated, undergone case management and has been given referrals to service providers.

District Attorney Zugibe said, "Drug Market Intervention is Community Prosecution at its best. Detectives, police officers and prosecutors working with local businesses owners, clergy and concerned citizens who desire to be safe in their own neighborhoods."

The Drug Market Intervention strategy is a promise to vigorously prosecute repeat, violent and/or group offenders who continue to engage in illegal drug selling and/or violent activity.

It also is an offer by the community to assist those who want to change their lifestyles by delivering the tools to do so.

DMI guidelines call for any offender who violates their promise to stop selling drugs will be arrested and sent to jail.

The Drug Market Intervention program has been used to successfully reduce drug activity and violence in several U.S. communities, including High Point, North Carolina, Ocala, Florida, and Hempstead, New York.

"Rockland Unites To Donate Life"

Photo of DA Zubige at a podium that says The Rockland County District Attorney's Office teamed up in October with the New York Organ Donor Network in a countywide public education campaign and donor challenge to help bolster the state's organ, eye and tissue donor registry.

With 151 Rockland County residents currently awaiting an organ transplant, District Attorney Zugibe is challenging eligible residents to sign up to become an organ and tissue donor and help save hundreds of lives. More than 10,000 individuals statewide are hoping to receive a life-saving donation.

The donor challenge is a first-of-its-kind effort to increase enrollment in the New York State Donate Life Registry.  It involves local businesses, government agencies, civic and community groups and individuals signing up at least fifteen participants on the donor registry in order to "qualify for the race." Each team of fifteen will compete to register the most donors through April, 2011. The winning team will receive a "Racing Cup" trophy. Press and Internet updates will occur as groups qualify and when the campaign concludes.

Teams already committed to the challenge include those from the Rockland County District Attorney's Office, the Rockland County Commissioner of Jurors, the Rockland County Clerk's Office, the Ramapo Police Department, the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association, the Ramapo Police Benevolent Association, the Village of Montebello and the Spring Valley PDC.

Team leaders and individuals looking to participate can visit DonateLifeNY.org for electronic enrollment and other details.

Don't Blow It! "Leandra's Law" Now In Effect

Photo of DA Zugibe examining an ignition interlock deviceWith the 2010 holiday season upon us, the Rockland County District Attorney reminds everyone to drink responsibly.

Effective August 15th, anyone in New York State convicted of drunken driving (even first-time offenders) is required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they operate. Installation and service costs for the device will be paid entirely by the offender.

New York joins nine other states in mandating ignition interlocks for first-time offenders, in addition to any other terms of sentence, such as prison, jail or probation. The devices must be installed for a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years for a misdemeanor conviction and five years for a felony conviction. Anyone attempting to circumvent an interlock device is guilty of a Class "A" misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

The interlock program has been a major undertaking in Rockland County, where 800 motorists were convicted of DWI last year alone.

Spotlight On Conviction

Photo of Donovan MaisOn October 15th, the District Attorney's office secured a conviction against Donovan Mais of Valley Cottage for the attempted sexual assault and robbery of a Clarkstown woman in her home. In September, 2008, Mais illegally entered the residence, entered a bedroom where a woman had been sleeping alone, demanded money and ordered the victim to disrobe.

The repeat violent felon was arrested a few hours later by Clarkstown police. Jurors deciding the case reached a verdict following a three-week trial and one full day of deliberations. Mais was convicted on one count of Attempted Rape in First Degree, one count of Burglary in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Robbery in the Third Degree. He was sentenced on November 23rd to 15 years in state prison and 20 years post-release supervision. Mais was previously convicted in 2005 of Robbery in the First Degree in Yonkers in a violent attack on another woman. For more information about recent convictions, see our Press Releases page.