An embattled Rochester City Court judge who was on probation and who was arrested on Tuesday of illegally purchasing a shotgun has been suspended from the bench.
The Court of Appeals issued on Wednesday a one-sentence order suspending Rochester City Judge Leticia Astacio with pay, citing a state statute giving the high court the authority to suspend judges who have pending felony charges.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Astacio, 36, is charged with attempted criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon, a class E felony. She was allegedly attempting to purchase a shotgun from a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Henrietta.
The arrest is the latest episode in a series of legal troubles for Astacio, who was elected to a 10-year term on the bench in 2014 and receives a $187,200 annual salary.
Astacio has not heard any cases since shortly after her February 2016 drunk-driving arrest. Following her conviction of driving while intoxicated, she was given a conditional discharge in which she agreed to install an ignition interlock device in her car.
In November 2016, the judge was accused of being drunk in a mall restaurant and refusing to leave an employee bathroom until she was compelled to do by a security guard armed with pepper spray, as well as knocking back a few at Thanksgiving party. She was also charged with violating the conditional release by violating her ignition interlock device requirements on three separate occasions.
But Astacio beat the charges: in March 2017, Canandaigua City Judge Stephen Aronson found that, because the task of monitoring Astacio’s IID was inexplicably transferred from Ontario County to Monroe County, the three charges pertaining to her device were “judiciously flawed.”
In throwing out the charges that Astacio violated her order to abstain from alcohol, Aronson said that, while the mall security guard who escorted the judge from the restaurant bathroom had to help Astacio maintain her balance, he said that he did not smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath.
Arsonson also said that the evidence that Astacio was supposedly drinking at the Thanksgiving party—photos of Astacio with a drink in her hand that were posted on Facebook—was not sufficient to prove that she had again fallen off the wagon.
But when Astacio appeared before Aronson again in July 2017 after her arrest for missing a court date, he did not find in Astacio’s favor; she had been arrested in June on a bench warrant that Aronson issued for missing a court date, and Aronson he gave her a two-month jail sentence and an additional three years’ probation.
Astacio said last year that she has been interviewed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding her convictions.