Judge Astacio should be removed as a judge, commission rules

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Leticia Astacio, the infamous judge who has been in and out of court over the past two years as a defendant, should be removed as a Rochester city court judge, a state agency said on Tuesday.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct released the decision at a news conference in Rochester Tuesday morning.

We’re told Astacio has the right to appeal the decision —  a process that could take three to five months. And, during that process, she will still get paid.

Astacio hasn’t heard cases since her 2016 arrest for drunk driving. In recent months, she hasn’t even shown up to the Hall of Justice to do desk work.

On April 11, the state Court of Appeals suspended her with pay after she was arrested on felony charges for an attempted gun purchase.

Astacio, who is on probation following her DWI conviction, is prohibited from owning a weapon. However, in early April, deputies said Astacio tried to buy a shotgun at two Dick’s Sporting Goods locations. However, the commission said the recent gun arrest did not factor into their final decision.

As a judge, despite not showing up for work, Astacio was taking home a six-figure salary and even was granted a raise earlier this year.

Timeline

February 13, 2016: Judge Leticia Astacio is arrested for drunk driving after a trooper spots her vehicle on the side of 490. According to court papers, troopers say Astacio’s car was damaged and she had a blood-alcohol level of .19. Shortly after, she is assigned to chamber work at the Hall of Justice.

August 22, 2016: Astacio is convicted of drunk driving. She is sentenced to a conditional discharge which outlines certain terms Astacio must adhere to as part of her sentence including not drinking alcohol.

October-November 2016: Astacio is accused of violating the conditions of her sentence on multiple occasions including drinking at Papaya Asian Kitchen & Bar in Marketplace Mall and days later at a Thanksgiving party.

March 2017: Astacio is cleared of the violations after Judge Aronson rules there’s not enough evidence to prove she was drinking.

April-May 2017: Astacio is accused of another bad blow on her interlock device. After Astacio fails to provide a court-mandated urine test, her attorney says the judge is in Thailand living with monks. On May 30, after Astacio misses another court appearance, a bench warrant is issued for her arrest.

June 5, 2017: Judge Astacio returns from Thailand and meets with her supervisors. She is also arrested for the bench warrant. After turning down a plea deal, Astacio is sent to jail. While in jail she fires her attorney Ed Fiandach and hires new representation.

June 15, 2017: In an interview with News 8, Astacio’s daughter defends her mom and takes the blame for the interlock violation in April.

July 13, 2017: Judge Astacio is released from jail.

August 2017: Judge Astacio is accused of violating her probation. She claims a foot cream set off a false positive result for alcohol on her ankle bracelet. Judge Astacio stops showing up for work in August, citing health concerns.

September 2017: Speaking in an exclusive interview with Adam Chodak, Astacio says she won’t step down as a city court judge.

October 3, 2017: Astacio is again accused of a probation violation for an unapproved trip to del Lago Casino in Seneca County.

October 8, 2017: A woman is arrested after police say she harassed and grabbed Judge Astacio at Rochester bowling alley/bar Radio Social.

October 17, 2017: Judge Astacio is accused of violating her probation again after officers say she made a trip to the Syracuse-area, but never submitted paperwork detailing the trip. Officers say her interlock device recorded a stop at the del Lago Casino again.

October 23, 2017: Judge Astacio is sent back to jail again, and is held until a court appearance on November 3.

November 9, 2017: Judge Astacio is again ordered back to jail by Judge Aronson after refusing a judge’s order to wear her ankle bracelet. Astacio argued that, under law, she shouldn’t be required to pay for the device.

February 2018: The Commission on Judicial Conduct, while arguing for more funding from the state, says a lack of stenographers is holding up its decision on Judge Leticia Astacio.

February 27, 2018: After being ordered back to work, Judge Astacio returns to the Hall of Justice for a day.

April 2, 2018: Judge Astacio gets a pay raise granted to city court judges across New York state.

April 3, 2018: Deputies investigate after Judge Astacio is denied a gun sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

April 10, 2018: Judge Astacio is arrested for the attempted gun purchase. Under the conditions of her probation, she is restricted from owning a gun.

April 11, 2018: After being accused of a felony, the Court of Appeals suspends Judge Astacio with pay — changing little for the judge who hadn’t been showing up for work anyway. A week later she would be charged with new probation violations related to her attempted gun purchase along with an additional violation saying she ended treatment too soon.

April 16, 2018: In an interview with News 8, an administrator for the Commission on Judicial Conduct says the commission won’t be swayed by public outrage surrounding Astacio’s case.

April 24, 2018: The commission rules Astacio should be removed a judge.

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