Former Councilman Monserrate Loses Appeal

Former NewYork State Senator Hiram Monser rate’s conviction for recklessly causing physical injury to his girlfriend during a domestic violence incident at his Jackson Heights apartment inDecember 2008 has been unanimously affirmed by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court.

“The Appellate Division’s affirmance of the trial court’s verdict and sentence conveys a clear message,’ said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Monserrate was convicted on October15, 2009, of third-degree assault following a bench trial presided over by Queens Supreme Court Justice William M. Erlbaum,who concluded that Monserrate –as seen on surveillance video – recklessly caused physical injury to his girlfriend,Karla Giraldo, by violently and forcibly dragging her by the arm on the stairs andthrough the lobby of his Jackson Heights apartment building on December 19,2008.

Justice Erlbaum expressly found that Ms. Giraldo suffered substantial pain andcited various factors in support of that finding – including the bruising and skintearing on her arm caused by Monserrate’s actions and the fact that he dragged her when she was in a “weakened statedue to severe facial injuries” she suffered just before hand in his apartment. Exiting the building, Monserrate drove Ms.Giraldo to a hospital approximately fourteen miles from his apartment, though the nearest hospital was approximately one-half mile from his residence, andinstead of driving to the emergency entrance,parked on the street outside themain entrance. Ms. Giraldo received approximately 40 stitches to the area surroundingher left eye. Monserrate wassentenced on December 4, 2009, to three years of supervised probation, 52 weeksof counseling, 250 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine.

In its decision, the four-judge panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department,noted that the guilty verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.“The evidence presented as to the complainant’s[Ms. Giraldo’s] weakened state from severe facial injuries, the manner inwhich the injuries to her arm were inflicted,the defendant’s motive as a contributing factor to the degree of force he used and the exacerbation of the complaint’s injuries, and the visual depiction of the complainant’s facial expressions in reaction to the defendant’s acts, provided [ Justice Erlbaum] with a sufficient basis to infer the complainant suffered substantial pain.”


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