judicial chambers in handcuffs.
court deputies and city police officers executed a bench warrant issued
for Judge Leticia Astacio's arrest last week after she missed a Tuesday
court appearance related to an August drunken-driving conviction.
a Rochester City Court judge, smiled and said hello to the gaggle of
reporters waiting for her at the fifth floor elevator bank of the Monroe
County Hall of Justice where officers marched her off to be processed
at the nearby Rochester Public Safety Building. She returned later to
the courthouse for an arraignment before Judge Stephen Aronson of
Canandaigua City Court, who issued the warrant and is overseeing her
He ordered her held without bail in Monroe
County Jail until a Thursday hearing. The reason she missed her court
appearance last week was because she had been living in a temple with
monks in the mountains of Thailand since May 3, she had texted to her
"You're doing everything to show you don't care what happens to your public trust," Aronson said.
court Monday, Aronson offered Astacio a deal: Plead guilty to violating
her initial drunk-driving sentence and receive 45 days in jail, two
years of probation and six months on an ankle monitor. She declined and
was ordered to jail.
On Feb. 13, 2016, Astacio was arrested around 8 a.m. ET on her way to
City Court after New York state troopers were summoned to what appeared
to be a one-car crash Interstate 490. She refused to take a
On Aug. 22, she was sentenced to a one-year
conditional discharge that was extended to February 2018 after she
admitted violating two conditions: abstaining from alcohol and not
driving under the influence.
Astacio, a Democrat who was elected
to a 10-year term in 2014, also was in court in March when she beat four
allegations that she violated the conditions of her sentence. One
alleged that she twice drank alcohol, and three others were related to
the use and maintenance of her ignition interlock device, which prevents
a vehicle from starting if a driver has had too much to drink.
In May, Astacio was summoned to court after her interlock device on
April 29 registered a blood-alcohol-content reading of 0.0651%. A
vehicle will start only if a person's blood-alcohol content is below
Astacio, who worked as a prosecutor for a time in 2009 in
the Driving While Intoxicated Bureau of the Monroe County District
Attorney's Office, denied consuming alcohol and contended that her
daughter had registered the reading, said her lawyer, Ed Fiandach. It is
not illegal for another person to drive a car outfitted with an
interlock device meant for someone else.
After the reading, which Fiandach said occurred near the beginning of
May, Aronson asked that Astacio take a urine test that detects ethyl
glucuronide, a byproduct of alcohol, and submit the results to the
court. She did not, so she was summoned to court Tuesday and did not
appear because she was in Thailand.
Astacio had not been arrested when she returned to the United States
over the weekend was not immediately clear. She had told Fiandach that
she had bought a one-way ticket to Thailand and would be there until
some time in August.
She returned to Rochester because her
supervising judge, Justice Craig Doran of the New York State Supreme
Court, had directed she attend a 9 a.m. Monday meeting in his office at
the Monroe County Hall of Justice, expressing concern in a letter that
her behavior constituted a "voluntary abandonment of public office" that
would be deemed a breach of her judicial responsibilities if she failed
to show up.
"You are self-sabotaging any chance you have to return to the bench,"
Aronson said in court, telling Astacio that her attitude appeared to be
Though she still receives her paycheck, Astacio has
been prohibited from presiding over cases since before her drunken
driving conviction in August and has been barred from entering
non-public areas of the courthouse since November. She has continued to
receive her $173,700 salary because she remains an elected judge.
Astacio will again be working for her pay upon her release from jail — whenever that may be.
supervisors, state Supreme Court Judge Craig Doran and City Court Judge
Teresa Johnson, told Astacio Monday that she will required to conduct
research in the courthouse law library Monday through Friday, whenever
court is in session.
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New York judge arrested, led from courthouse in handcuffs