Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers criminal justice, terrorism and the courts for WNYC. She found her way into public radio after practicing law for five years, and can definitely say that walking the streets of New York City with a microphone is a lot more fun than being holed up in the office writing letters to opposing counsel.
Senate to Vote: Censure or Expulsion for Sen. Monserrate
Monday, February 08, 2010
New York, NY —
New York's State Senate expects to vote tomorrow on whether Senator Hiram Monserrate should be censured or expelled from office. The Queens Democrat was convicted of a misdemeanor last year for recklessly assaulting his girlfriend, and a special senate committee said his conduct since that incident makes him unfit to serve.
Chad Seigel, one of Monserrate's lawyers, says any attempt to expel his client will effectively disenfranchise the voters in Monserrate's district.
"The senate did not put Senator Monserrate in office. The voters did. And I think it makes sense for the voters to decide whether or not he should remain in office or leave," Seigel says.
If the senate votes to expel Monserrate, his lawyers say they’ll go straight to a judge Wednesday morning to ask for an immediate injunction. They’ll ask the judge to prevent the expulsion resolution from being carried out and they’ll ask the judge to prevent Governor David Paterson from calling a special election to fill Monserrate’s seat.
A state statute allows for the expulsion of senate members, but the state constitution is silent on the issue.
Monserrate is currently appealing his misdemeanor conviction.