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Judge Leticia Astacio Held in Jail Until Sentencing
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Judge Leticia Astacio

Summary: Judge Leticia Astacio had left the country suddenly when a court order for a urine analysis test came through a few days later from a resulting car breathalyzer hit.

Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio will remain in jail after a hearing Thursday. The judge may stay behind bars for the next four months as an inmate depending on what is decided about how much she knew and when she knew it.


At stake is whether she knew the judge overseeing her drunk-driving case had ordered for her to submit an alcohol consumption urine test. If the case determines that she did know, the next question is when did she know?

The issue is that the ignition interlock device on Judge Astacio’s car recorded a blood-alcohol level reading of .0651 percent when the car was started. Astacio claims that her daughter was the one that blew into it, which cars with such equipment are allowed to be driven by other people.

Judge Stephen Aronson of Canandaigua City Court was overseeing the case, ordering a blood alcohol test. However, Astacio left for Thailand on May 2 without informing the court or her lawyer. Aronson ordered the test after that date. She said in court, “I didn’t have the ability to communicate with anyone by telephone or text message” from May 2 to 27 due to spotty and expensive cell phone coverage. She continued, “I was able to communicate with my family through social media.”

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Astacio claims she learned of the court ordered test when her lawyer notified her by email on May 27. Now the court must decide if Astacio was informed of the urinalysis test in a timely manner and whether she would have been able to comply but simply chose not to. She was not prohibited from traveling when she was discharged on August 22 with conditions. Astacio had been arrested on February 13, 2016, for drunken-driving when she was on her way to work. Some of the conditions were to submit random court-ordered drug tests and abstain from alcohol.

Her reason for getting away: “I was trying to de-stress and get away from all of this.” She had bought a one-way ticket on May 1 for the next day. She was on her way to Bangkok on May 2, according to prosecutor Zach Maurer. Astacio told her lawyer Ed Fiandach that her plans were to spend time in the mountains at a temple with monks. However, Democrat and Chronicle reported that her Instagram photos displayed a different plan. Her account has since been switched to private from the public setting but when it was visible, they reported she has posted images of typical tourist spots in the city.

Astacio missed a May 30 court date, resulting in a bench warrant for her arrest. On Monday she was taken into custody after being summoned to a meeting with her boss, Justice Craig Doran of the New York State Supreme Court.

Fiandach said, “I don’t think anyone can fault her for leaving after approximately eight months on her conditional discharge when she had never before been asked to submit to EtG testing.” The test is capable of registering alcohol consumption up to 80 hours before the time of the test.

Ultimately, Aronson faulted her for violating the conditions of her sentence since she did not take the urine test. She was ordered to be held without bail until sentencing on July 6. She is still receiving her $173,700 annual salary and retains her title as a judge. Now that Aronson found her guilty, she is subject to the penalties from her original conviction, including up to a year in jail.

She plans to appeal.

Do you think it is smart to let someone else drive your specially equipped car when the results get traced back to you? Tell us in the comments below.

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