Judicial Commission representative questioned on Astacio matter during Assembly testimony
Albany, N.Y. – While not mentioned specifically by name, Judge Leticia Astacio’s ongoing legal saga was referenced during New York State Assembly committee proceedings this week.
Tuesday, during his testimony at the Joint Budget Hearing on Public Protection, Administrator and Counsel Robert Tembeckjian of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, praised an increase in funding for the commission, but added that even more is desired in order for it to effectively operate.
“Our staff has been reduced, and the resources that we have to bear on the significant case load that we have been under significant strain,” Tembeckjian testified. "This has had an adverse affect on our ability to conclude our matters in a timely manner."
During the proceedings, Tembeckjian was questioned by Senator Catherine Young (R) whether the commission was involved in "a pretty notorious case in Rochester" regarding a judge that was driving drunk and didn't show up to work.
Tembeckjian replied that it was publicly noted that the commission is looking into that case, but that due to confidentiality statutes, he couldn't comment further on the details of the commission's investigation.
He did, however, say that one of the reasons the commission is delayed in taking disciplinary action on cases is because the commission doesn't have money in its budget for stenographic services.
"We don't have the funding in our budget for stenographic services, and of course, we're required to produce a transcript for every testimony we take," Tembeckjian said. "A case such as the one you mentioned may have been disposed of six months ago if we had the resources commiserate with our responsibility."
Tembeckjian went on to say that the transcripts had to be transcribed in-house by administrative staff, which delays the processes the commission is required to take when looking into cases they are assigned.
Astacio was charged with DWI in February 2016 after she was involved in a car accident on 490 westbound while on her way to court to handle criminal arraignments.
She was sentenced to 60 days in jail, three years probation, and six months with an alcohol ankle monitor in July 2017.
Employees at the Hall of Justice in Rochester confirmed Astacio has not been at work since August 31, citing a doctor's note. She is still receiving her $174,000 annual salary.