Now that State Senator Hiram Monserrate has opted for a bench trial, versus having a jury hear allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend last year, his fate is in the hands of Justice William M. Erlbaum. City Room reports that the National Organization for Women's New York chapter has been asking women to contact Erlbaum and ask him give the former turncoat Senator "to the maximum sentence allowable by law." Of course, Monserrate's lawyer is upset, claiming, "They’re trying to improperly persuade the fact finder. It’s akin to writing a letter to a juror." On the other hand, Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver points out it's not quite "akin" since Erlbaum is a public official. The judge also pointed out to Monserrate, at "in a bench trial, I wear two hats: I get to see all the evidence, even impermissible evidence," which includes the purported video of Monserrate roughly handling his girlfriend. One defense lawyer told the Post of the bench trial decision, "It's really gutsy -- but really risky. He's taking out one of the key components of a jury, and that's empathy. A judge cannot and will not be sympathetic to you, relying completely on the law."