New York judge arrested, led from courthouse in handcuffs

An embattled City Court judge was escorted Monday from judicial chambers in handcuffs. Rochester court deputies and city police officers executed a bench warrant issued for Judge Leticia Astacio’s arrest last week after she missed a Tuesday court appearance related to an August drunken-driving conviction.

Astacio, a Rochester City Court judge, smiled and said hello to the gaggle of reporters waiting for her at the fifth-floor elevator bank of the Monroe County Hall of Justice where officers marched her off to be processed at the nearby Rochester Public Safety Building. She returned later to the courthouse for an arraignment before Judge Stephen Aronson of Canandaigua City Court, who issued the warrant and is overseeing her drunken-driving case.

He ordered her held without bail in Monroe County Jail until a Thursday hearing. The reason she missed her court appearance last week was that she had been living in a temple with monks in the mountains of Thailand since May 3, she had texted to her lawyer.

“You’re doing everything to show you don’t care what happens to your public trust,” Aronson said. In court Monday, Aronson offered Astacio a deal: Plead guilty to violating her initial drunk-driving sentence and receive 45 days in jail, two years of probation and six months on an ankle monitor. She declined and was ordered to jail.

On Feb. 13, 2016, Astacio was arrested around 8 a.m. ET on her way to City Court after New York state troopers were summoned to what appeared to be a one-car crash Interstate 490. She refused to take a Breathalyser test

On Aug. 22, she was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge that was extended to February 2018 after she admitted violating two conditions: abstaining from alcohol and not driving under the influence.

Astacio, a Democrat who was elected to a 10-year term in 2014, also was in court in March when she beat four allegations that she violated the conditions of her sentence. One alleged that she twice drank alcohol, and three others were related to the use and maintenance of her ignition interlock device, which prevents a vehicle from starting if a driver has had too much to drink.

USA TODAY

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