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Last Updated on 03/06/2023 by Sophia

Case Citation
People v Monserrate 2011 NY Slip Op 09154
Statement of Facts
Hiram Monserrate was charged with the various counts relating to the assault he had
occasioned his girlfriend, the complainant. He was charged with both second-degree assault and
third-degree assault, alleged to have taken place inside the defendants' apartment. In the nonjury
course, the trial was based on the DVD downloads, which were soundless. The DVD downloads
showed the complainant's uninjured face before entering the defendant's apartment, but she later
emerged with facial lacerations bleeding. The defendant followed her, pulling her hand in the
opposite direction. The surveillance video showed the defendant continuing to pull the
complainant down the stairs.
Medical evidence presented before the court showed that the complainant had abrasion
and bruises that could be described as skin tears or scrape. At the trial, the public prosecutor did
not ask the complainant to explain how she got the injuries. At the end of the trial, the Supreme
court acquitted the defendant of the facial injuries charges but found him guilty of the third-
degree assault offense.
Procedural History

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The matter was first prosecuted before the Supreme Court. When the determination was
arrived at, the defendant felt aggrieved by how it was conducted and therefore decided to appeal
the Supreme Court's decision.
Issues/Questions presented
On Appeal, the defendant was contending the inclusion of physical injury as a vital
element in settling on the crime of assault in the third degree. The Appellant was of the view that
the evidence presented before the Supreme Court was not substantial to prove the allegation that
the Appellant's conduct amounted to third-degree assault. As such, the court was supposed to
delve into the issue of whether the evidence tabled was substantial to prove the offense of third-
degree assault.
Holding/Rule of Law
The Supreme Court found that the prosecution has proved to the Supreme Court beyond a
reasonable doubt that all the elements for third-degree assault as indicated under the Statutory
provisions and precedents were present.
Reasoning and Analysis
In making the holding, the Court of Appeal was reliant on Penal Law § 120.00(2), which
indicates that a person is guilty of third-degree assault if it can be proved that he or she recklessly
caused the physical injury of another person. Such bodily injury must have occasioned
substantial pain, as echoed in the case of People v Rojas. All these elements were present, and
therefore, the Supreme Court was correct in finding that the defendant was guilty of the third-
degree assault.

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Disposition
The Appeal was dismissed, and the decision made in the Supreme Court was upheld.
Writer’s Commentary
When courts determine criminal matters, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a
reasonable doubt. For the prosecution team to succeed in doing so, it must table all the necessary
evidence that proves its case. However, when doing so, it must be within the confines of the law
that renders evidence as being admissible. In the clear case, it is manifestly clear that the
prosecution did gather enough evidence that put the defendant on the scene of the crime. By his
conduct, the defendant occasioned the physical injuries sustained by the complainant, and
therefore he was rightfully charged and convicted of the offense of third-degree assault.

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Reference
People v Monserrate 2011 NY Slip Op 09154