Monserrate Gets No Jail Time

By Tim Minton
|  Saturday, Dec 5, 2009  |  Updated 9:22 AM EDT
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No Jail Time for State Senator  Monserrate

Councilman Hiram Monserrate

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No Jail Time for State Senator Monserrate

State Senator Hiram Monserrate sentenced to three years of probation, 250 hours of community service and 52 weeks of anger management for recklessly causing physical injury to his girlfriend.
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State Senator Hiram Monserrate has escaped prison time and has been sentenced to three years' probation by a Queens judge.

Monserrate must also pay a $1000 fine, do 250 hours of community service and attend 52 weeks worth of a batterer's prevention program.

The legislator had faced a maximum of a year behind bars for his misdemeanor third-degree reckless assault conviction for assaulting his girlfriend.

Under state law, a defendant sentenced to more than 60 days in jail (or four months of jail on weekends only) cannot also receive probation and/or counseling.

"I am a flawed person," Monserrate told the court. "I cannot change the past but I can alter the future," said the senator, speaking in a somber, occasionally teary voice.

He added, "what happened is my fault and I take responsibility. I'm so sorry for the harm Karla (Giraldo) has endured and suffered. I love her very much."

Judge William Erlbaum told him to "curb your anger."

But before pronouncing the sentence that does not include jail time, Judge Erlbaum declared:  "He doesn't get a break. He doesn't get a handout. He gets what anybody would get in the same situation. A sentence that includes probation is appropriate. It's appropriate!"

Earlier, Monserrate's girlfriend/victim Karla Giraldo, who was in court for the sentencing, had said "I want to be with him and I want to continue my normal life. We would like to get married."

Despite that, an order of protection was continued in the case.

It is close to a year since Monserrate assaulted Giraldo in his apartment building, then dragged her outside.

He was acquitted of more serious felony assault charges resulting from the initial dispute that prosecutors said was triggered by a jealous rage that left Girardo needing about 40 stitches on her face.

Giraldo testified that the injuries were the result of an accident.

Some lawmakers and women's rights organizations have called for Monserrate's resignation and/or dismissal from the senate. The freshman Democrat could have lost his Senate seat automatically if he'd been convicted of the more serious charge, second-degree felony assault.

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