Astacio pleads guilty to one violation, gets time served
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Judge Leticia Astacio pleaded guilty Monday morning to one of the eight alleged probation violations filed against her. The single guilty plea will satisfy all of the violations that she faced.
"Who wouldn't plead guilty to get out of jail? Jail Sucks," she told 13WHAM's Jane Flasch.
Astacio was accused of being drunk - refusing to wear her ankle monitor and leaving the county to gamble without permission. She was allowed to choose one violation and she chose "none of the above."
Instead, Astacio admitted to using a foot peel that contains alcohol, one of her earlier violations filed back in July. Court papers say the conditions of Astacio's probation stipulated "she would not use or possess any products containing alcohol."
As a result of the plea, the other seven violations of her probation are being dropped. In exchange for the plea, Astacio was sentenced to time served in jail.
In July - two days after being released from jail the first time - Judge Astacio was accused of drinking alcohol. Her SCRAM ankle device registered a blood alcohol level of .127; the legal threshold for drunk driving is .08. She's also accused of traveling outside Monroe County in September without permission to visit the del Lago casino, then doing it again in October.
When asked why she was allowed to plead guilty to a violation that may seem less serious than others, prosecutor Jim Ritts said that it was part of the deal offered by the court. "She could choose the violation that she admitted to and be placed back on probation," he said. "The goal is to move forward and hopefully not have to come back."
Greg Salmon, Astacio's third attorney, was officially taken off the case. Last week, he abruptly quit, citing "irreconcilable differences." "Incidences occurred that just broke down the relationship," he said. "I was surprised to see that she had taken a plea to a violation, but I certainly hope this brings a new chapter for her.
Astacio was represented by defense attorney Bridget Field on Monday. Fields was her second attorney who later parted ways.
Astacio was in jail over the weekend after Judge Stephen Aronson remanded her to jail without bail for allegedly refusing to put her SCRAM device back on after being released from custody Monday afternoon, saying she would not pay for it. The SCRAM device, commonly referred to as an ankle monitor, monitors Astacio's blood alcohol content level. It is a required condition of her probation.
As she was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, Astacio continued to talk to the judge, saying it was "illegal" for him to be putting her in jail.
Astacio served 60 days in jail back in June. At her release, she was put on probation and ordered to wear the ankle monitor. She now says adding probation to that sentence was against the law. She has filed a motion which will be argued in December.
Astacio continues to receive her $174,000 salary as an elected judge. The New York State Judicial Commission met last month, but has not issued any indication as to whether or not they discussed Astacio's standing on the bench.