BANGOR, Maine - A federal judge Wednesday sentenced a Washington County man who is a licensed veterinarian but is unable to find work to a year of probation rather than jail for assaulting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer last year.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock went outside the federal sentencing guidelines in sentencing David Wong Troy, 47, of Baileyville for causing what the judge called “a melee” in November at the Ferry Point Bridge Port of Entry office in Calais.
A New York native, who moved to Maine four years ago, Troy earned his degree in veterinary medicine from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He practiced in New York City for nearly two decades before undiagnosed mental health problems apparently caused him to seek a quieter lifestyle in rural Maine, the judge said.
Troy, who is an Asian-American, went to the Calais office on Nov. 27 to complain to a supervisor about what he considered to be previous unfair treatment by border patrol agents, according to court documents. When he refused to speak to officers or stop when told to do so, an agent touched his arm to get his attention.
The Baileyville man “flailed his arms,” Woodcock said Wednesday in describing the event that led to Troy’ s arrest, and struck the agent. Other officers quickly moved in to subdue and arrest Troy, who was described by agents as “not compliant.”
No one was hurt in the incident, the judge said.
Troy, who has not had other encounters with law enforcement officers, was charged with a federal misdemeanor and requested a jury trial. He was found guilty in April after a one-day trial of one count of assault. He also was found not guilty of a second assault charge stemming from the same incident.
His attorney, Richard Hartley of Bangor, urged Woodcock not to impose jail time and to use his judicial discretion to craft a sentence that fit the unusual circumstances.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Torresen recommended Troy be sentenced to one year in federal prison, the maximum penalty.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, he faced 12 months in prison and a fine of between $3,000 and $30,000. The judge determined Troy could not pay a fine.
“A year in prison is too dramatic a penalty for the crime you committed,” Woodcock said in imposing the sentence.
The judge also urged Troy to continue seeking work as a veterinarian.
“There are a lot of animals in this state and elsewhere that could use your services,” Woodcock said. “You could do a lot of good.”
Hartley appealed Troy’ s conviction but not his sentence after Wednesday’ s hearing.