Court papers: Astacio had 3 probation violations within 3 days of release
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio will return to court Thursday morning to answer to allegations she's in violation again - this time, involving three requirements of her probation. One of the violations involved a blood alcohol reading of one and a half times the legal limit for driving.
"Judge (Stephen Aronson) will certainly have to make a decision whether to take her into custody," said prosecutor Zach Maurer.
A key question will be whether she willfully violated the conditions. It dates back to statements that were made the day she was sentenced for violating the terms of her sentence. With cameras rolling in the courtroom, Judge Aronson ordered Astacio to jail for two months - to be followed by a host of restrictive conditions. That's when her attorney requested more jail time and no probation.
"Judge, she is not going to want probation," said Astacio's attorney, Mark Young. "She'll violate probation the minute you put her on probation."
Judge Aronson's angry response: "What she wants is irrelevant."
It's now alleged the very day Judge Astacio was released from jail, she violated her probation for the first time. The ankle bracelet she must wear 24/7 is called a SCRAM unit. According to court papers, she failed to plug in the base device on July 13.
The papers allege sometime a day or two later on July 14 or 15, the SCRAM device registered a blood alcohol level of .127; the legal threshold for drunk driving is .08. Prosecutors say the timeline is troubling.
"Certainly, there's an allegation and it occurred very promptly after her release from custody, so this may be her telling judge (Aronson) that she's not going to comply," said Maurer. "That's a concern."
Astacio's attorney now offers another explanation for his comments at sentencing. "At that point, I told Judge Aronson - letting him know that what he was doing for a first-time offender - a first time Puerto Rican woman judge offender - was way out of bounds," said Young.
He said the SCRAM device could be a "false positive" triggered by many things. Prosecutors say Astacio blames a foot peel product she used containing alcohol, but prosecutors say it doesn't add up.
"When they tested her explanation of using some sort of skin product on her feet, the reading was completely different from what they had on the 14th," said Maurer.
Court papers say that simply by using the product - which contains alcohol - Astacio violated another of the conditions of her probation. She agreed, "she would not use or possess any products containing alcohol," said the document.
Judge Astacio continues to collect her $174,000 salary, because only the Judicial Conduct Commission can remove her from office. A new petition has been started urging the commission to remove Judge Astacio from office.