ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A recent appeal by Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio was denied this week by Judge Stephen Aronson, prosecutors confirm.
The embattled judge has not heard cases since her DWI conviction for drunk driving, six months after a February 2016 crash on Interstate 490 on Rochester's west side, which began the highly-public ordeal.
Prosecutors said Astacio remains on probation and awaits a written ruling from Ontario County Court Judge William Kocher on another appeal, concerning a springtime trip to Thailand which caused her to miss a May court appearance.
One condition of the DWI conviction was that Astacio couldn't drink alcohol, and had to comply with random judge-ordered urine tests. When the ignition interlock device on Astacio's car registered a high blood-alcohol reading at the end of April 2017, Aronson ordered one of those tests.
By that time, Astacio was in southeast Asia, where she said she was living with monks and practicing meditation. Upon her return, she was jailed after Aronson ruled the trip violated a conditional discharge. Astacio was given probation over her objections and ordered to wear an alcohol-monitoring device.
Astacio's attorney, Bridget Field, argued that Astacio was not given ample notice, and that her client returned to Rochester as quickly as she could.
In November 2017, Astacio pleaded guilty to a probation violation for failing to pay for and wear the alcohol monitoring bracelet. When asked why, she said, “Who doesn’t plead guilty to get out of jail? Jail sucks.”
Astacio agreed to plead guilty to one of her violations – admitting to using foot cream that had alcohol in it — in exchange for a sentence of time served.
Prior to that, Astacio was accused of going to Del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, two counties away, in September 2017, without giving her probation officer proper notification.
In frequent appearances in and outside court, stemming back months, Astacio made comments which include:
- "I think that everything happens for a reason, including going to jail twice."
- "I don't know if you can possibly fathom what this negative attention has done to my life. To be known as #DrunkJudge, as opposed to, a teen mom who overcame the odds, as opposed to the youngest city court judge elected, as opposed to the first Hispanic female on the bench."
- and "The media has tried to break me."
Astacio has received counsel from Field and three other lawyers. Well-known DWI attorney Ed Fiandach, the first, was taken aback at the amount of attention the case received, before Astacio fired him from her jail cell. He was replaced by Mark Young and then by New York City-based Greg Salmon, who was granted a request to get taken off the case.
Astacio is still collecting a $174,000 per year salary. Only the state Judicial Conduct Commission can remove a judge or remove their salary.
Her case has and continues to garner extensive media attention and public interest, with Astacio herself thanking supporters through social media and telling reporters that her critics are not her constituents and live outside of the City of Rochester.