Evan Sachs arrives at Nassau County Courthouse for a bail...

Evan Sachs arrives at Nassau County Courthouse for a bail hearing, Wednesday. (Jan. 19, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A panel of four state appellate division justices denied a request to lower the million-dollar bail that a Nassau County judge set last month for Evan Sachs, the Merrick man who police said stabbed an 8-year-old boy last October.

"I am a little surprised and a lot disappointed," Sachs' attorney, Michael Soshnick of Mineola, said of the decision. "I honestly thought that the proposal I made was sufficient to provide for my client's mental health treatment and the safety of the public," he said.

Soshnick argued in the Brooklyn courtroom that his client, whose family said he suffers from bipolar disorder, snapped due to a violent reaction to new psychiatric medication when he stabbed the child Oct. 8 at Dave & Buster's in Westbury. He was taking celexa, an antidepressant.

Soshnick proposed lowering the $2.5 million bond or $1 million cash bail set last month by Nassau County Court Judge Jerald S. Carter to $150,000 bond.

He also asked that Sachs, 23, be confined to a psychiatric hospital and wear an electronic monitoring device.

But Nassau Assistant District Attorney Mitch Benson said the crime was planned and he was not sure a psychiatric defense is warranted. He said Sachs meticulously planned the attack on the boy, who was stabbed five time with his parents nearby. The boy was treated for a punctured lung and released.

"There's no reason to treat this defendant differently than any other defendant," Benson said.

During the arguments, Soshnick said, "My client and his family are not looking for my client to go home and troll elementary school playgrounds. Everybody is looking to get my client help."

He told the panel that Sachs should be released on bail, saying a bail bondsman has already agreed to post up to $150,000 bond, and that Sachs should be placed in a facility such as South Oaks Hospital in Amityville.

Appellate Division Justice Plummer E. Lott said the bail decision "cuts both ways," weighing the prospect that Sachs could deteriorate while in jail against the potential he could escape a nonsecure facility.

Soshnick said his client has no criminal record, has strong roots in Nassau and should not be held on such a high bail. He said the figure amounts to holding him without bail, which Soshnick said the law does not allow for with the charges Sachs faces. The law allows defendants charged with B felonies or lesser crimes "reasonable" bail, he said.

Sachs is charged with two B felonies, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, a D felony, second-degree assault, and a misdemeanor, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Soshnick added in legal papers he presented to the panel that Sachs' mental illness and medication rendered him incapable of waiving his Miranda rights. If true, any incriminating statements he may have made to police when he was arrested could be suppressed.

Soshnick went further, saying Sachs has suicidal thoughts, according to Barbara Kirwin, a forensic psychologist who has examined him, and that the conditions at the Nassau jail, where he is locked up for 23 hours a day, could trigger a suicide attempt.

But Benson contended, "The court should be aware that this is a strong case. He literally hunted for an eight-year-old boy. . . . He selected a target and began stabbing him several times in the back."

Sachs also made admissions to the crime, Benson said, adding that Sachs carried a note explaining his intentions and directed authorities to a website that described his plans.

"This is my fault," Benson said Sachs stated. "I've been planning to kill somebody for a long time. If anybody doubts this is what I want to do, go to this website."

But Justice Sheri S. Roman cut off Benson's arguments, asking whether any psychiatric facility would be suitable. In response, Benson said: "If it's a secure facility with the same conditions of jail - that he can't leave - that would be acceptable."

Sachs is due back in court Monday.

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