Judge Leticia Astacio of New York was arrested and placed in handcuffs after missing a mandatory court date. She had messaged her lawyer that she could not appear because (Ready for this?) “she had been living in a temple with monks in the mountains of Thailand since May 3.” I think I will call bullshit on this one.
Astacio was arrested for drunk driving in 2016 and had refused to take a breathalyzer test which is the same as pleading guilty without admitting guilt. She is not allowed to sit in on any cases until this is worked out but still receives her $173,700 or better than three thousand a week in pay plus keeps her benefits.
In a letter to Judge Astacio about Monday’s mandatory meeting, Judge Doren said 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’.
Her original conviction began from an incident that occurred on February 13, 2016, when she was arrested by New York State Troopers for drunk driving. That incident occurred about 8 AM and the judge’s car was involved in a single-vehicle wreck. She refused to take a Breathalyzer when the troopers asked her to.
On August 22, 2016, Judge Astacio was sentenced to a ‘one-year conditional discharge’ that was continued until March, 2018, after she admitted to two violations of the discharge after drinking alcohol and driving under the influence.
She was back in court in march when she beat four allegations that she had violated the conditions of her sentence: one that she drank alcohol on two separate occasions, and three about her ignition interlock, which will only start if the driver’s alcohol levels are below 0.03%.
Her ignition interlock data showed that there was a reading of 0.0651% on April 29, 2017.
Judge Astacio claimed that her daughter had driven, and that the reading was hers. It is not illegal for someone to drive a car that has an ignition interlock that is for someone else.
Judge Aronson ordered her to take a urine test to determine if there were byproducts of alcohol, but she didn’t take the test, because she was allegedly in Thailand living with the monks.
Judge Astacio was elected as a Democrat in 2014 for a ten-year term. She worked as a prosecutor for a time in 2009 in the Driving While Intoxicated Bureau of the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.
After she was arrested on Monday, she was processed and brought back in front of Judge Aronson for arraignment. He had issued the bench warrant, and said, “You’re doing everything to show you don’t care what happens to your public trust.”
He offered her a plea deal – plead guilty to the original drunk driving conviction, with 45 days in jail, two years of probation, and six months on an ankle monitor. Judge Astacio said no to the plea deal, and Judge Aronson ordered her held without bail until a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
In court on Monday, Judge Aronson told Judge Astacio that her attitude “appeared contemptuous,” and “You are self-sabotaging any chance you have to return to the bench.”