We don’t give our brothers and sisters in Staten Island enough play. So here’s a story from the forgotten borough: the grandson of Staten Island borough president James Molinaro asked to have his conviction overturned, and was denied. Steven Molinaro is serving five years for glaring. Wait, let us explain.
Back in 2006 Steven Molinaro (pictured), now 20, beat up a couple of 14-year-olds, Richard Orloski and Mark Veras. Veras suffered a brain contusion from the assault. Molinaro was put on probation and ordered to avoid his victims and attend programs.
Molinaro bailed on the programs, but was given another chance. Seven months later, Molinaro drove past Veras’ house and glared at him. For obvious reasons the Staten Island D.A. recused himself and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office stepped in. A jury found Molinaro guilty and sent him on his nickel.
Grandpa Molinaro told the Staten Island Advance, “I think being my grandson hurt him,” and took out an ad in the Advance — which, coincidentally, Veras served as a paper boy at the time of his beating — saying “this would not have happened to anyone else. It only happened to him because of his name.” That was Steven Molinaro’s argument in his appeal — that the prosecutor had made references to his grandparentage that hurt him at trial. (D.A. Peter Hinckley pointed out the Molinaro family and told the jury, “Tell them that Steven Molinaro is guilty.”) A panel of the Appellate Division found the references improper, but not prejudicial to the case.
We would think that the name of the borough president, being elected by the people, wouldn’t be such an albatross for the young man. Some Advance commenters indicate otherwise: “He has gotten away with alot more because of who his grandfather is. I’m sure this is not the last time you will here about him.” “Yeah, his grandfather is a waste, but why make an example out of him.” “KEEP THAT P.O.S IN JAIL ALNONG WITH HIS GRANDFATHER WHO IS ALSO A CROOK.” Photo via Staten Island Advance.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 8, 2009