Rochester City Court Judge sentenced

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in jail plus three years probation for violating the conditions of her 2016 DWI conviction.

Before her sentence was handed down, Astacio spoke for more than twenty minutes, telling Judge Stephen Aronson that she had complied with everything the court had asked her to do and more.
"I'm not drinking. I'm not driving. I completed treatment," she told Aronson. "I want this all to be over, but it's not in my control."

Astacio also blasted the relentless media coverage surrounding her case, referring to some journalists by name. Many of the reports about her case contained misinformation, she said, and remained uncorrected.
"If you Google my name you'll find these stories," she said. "The media is trying to break me."

She told Aronson that it is painful to be known as "hashtag drunk judge" rather than for being a good mom and a person who overcame adversity to find success. She said she represented not only all of the people who voted for her, but stood as a symbol to others in the inner city that it's possible for anyone there to succeed as she has.

In addition to ruining her reputation, she said the media coverage has prevented her from doing volunteer work.

 Local organizations she approached told her they didn't want the publicity her presence would bring.

"My reputation is ruined, but I'm more worried about the impact this is having on my kids," Astacio said.

Astacio tearfully recounted seeing her daughter tell a television reporter that she felt responsible for her mother being in jail, calling it the most painful thing she'd ever experienced.

"You can't punish me any more than you already have," she told the judge.

But Judge Aronson took exception to Astacio's comments, speaking forcefully from the bench.

"You have shown no remorse or contrition for your actions," Aronson said, the volume of his voice rising to a yell.
"I deal with people who try to avoid the system," he said, "and you're trying to avoid the system."

After the sentence was pronounced, defense attorneys Bridget Field and Mark Young said that Astacio would prefer a straight prison term, even the maximum sentence, with no probation.

"I'm not concerned with what Miss Astacio wants," the judge replied.

Her attorneys then indicated that Astacio did not intend to comply with the terms of probation, and would have to return to court to answer to a parole violation.

"We'll deal with it at that time," Aronson said, and pronounced the proceedings closed.

Astacio was charged in February 2016 with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. A state trooper testified he found Astacio's SUV on the side of Interstate 490 near Mt. Read Boulevard with extensive front-end damage and both driver's side tires flat. She was found guilty of driving while intoxicated after a bench trial last August.

Submitting to random court-ordered drug tests and abstaining from alcohol were among the conditions of the sentence Astacio received as a result of her conviction.

Last month she was found guilty of violating those terms.

The violation stemmed from a court order to submit to a urinalysis to test for alcohol consumption. Aronson had ordered Astacio to take an ethyl glucuronide test, or ETG test, after the ignition interlock device on her car registered a high blood-alcohol-content reading on April 29.

The test was not ordered, however, until after Astacio had left Rochester for a Thailand vacation on May 2. She did not take the test and submit the results to the court, as Aronson had directed her to do "immediately," until after her return on June 4.

She was taken into custody the following day at the Hall of Justice and has remained in jail while awaiting sentencing.

Astacio on Thursday said that when she left the country, she assumed all violations were resolved.
Assistant District Attorney Zach Maurer said he believed that Astacio's comments in court Thursday were sincere, but agreed with Judge Aronson about her lack of remorse.

"Throughout this proceeding, in the pre-sentence investigation and in her statement to the court, I didn't hear her once apologize for her own conduct and her actions," Maurer said outside the courtroom. "I think that's what the judge probably took some issue with."

Astacio will serve 45 days of the 60 day sentence, with credit for the 30 days she has already served. She'll also need to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet for 6 months.

SLAHMAN@Gannett.com

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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