Jailed Judge Leticia Astacio Speaks Extensively, Offers Little Apology

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Leticia Astacio, the embattled Rochester City Court judge, spoke out Thursday about her highly-scrutinized legal saga, but ultimately will remain in jail, for now.

Astacio received a sentence of 60 days in prison and three years probation during her bail hearing.

Astacio was charged with DWI in Feb. 2016 and convicted in August 2016. One condition of her DWI sentence was that she couldn't drink alcohol, and had to comply with random judge-ordered urine tests.

Earlier this year, a judge ordered Astacio to take a drug test after the ignition interlock device on her car registered a high blood-alcohol reading at the end of April. Astacio says she learned of the court order while she was visiting Thailand.

She returned June 4 and was jailed the following day, then found guilty of violating the conditions of her sentence and was then sent to jail.

Astacio was elected to a 10-year term and continues to receive her salary.

When Judge Stephen Aronson gave Judge Leticia Astacio an opportunity to speak, she took it and spoke for 20-plus minutes. She spoke confidently and clearly, remembering dates and details, about her arrest, her trip abroad and what she's done since to get back on track.

Astacio said she went to Thailand after reading "Eat, Pray Love." She lived with the monks and worked on her meditation. It was then that Aronson issued a warrant for her arrest. Astacio told him she came back right away, knowing she'd be arrested.

Astacio broke down when she spoke of what this has done to her family, and she had a lot to say about the media.

"I don't know if you can possibly fathom what this negative attention has done to my life. To be known as #DrunkJudge, as opposed to, a teen mom who overcame the odds, as opposed to the youngest city court judge elected, as opposed to the first Hispanic female on the bench," Astacio said.

"The media has tried to break me."

After Astacio finished, it was Aronson's turn, and he did not hold back.  

"Nowhere in your presentation did I hear one word of remorse or contrition for the acts you were found guilty of," Aronson said. "You give me the impression that you are disregarding the judicial system and avoiding your responsibilities under it. You were ordered to perform a drug test and you didn't, plain and simple.

"I have been the treatment judge in Ontario County for 18 years. I deal with people who avoid the system, and you are giving all indications that you're avoiding the system," Aronson also said.

With that, Judge sentenced Astacio to the 60 days in jail, three years of probation and to wear a SCRAM bracelet that monitors for alcohol. When the defense asked that Astacio serve time, instead of probation for three years,  Aronson denied it.

That's when Astacio's daughter screamed out.

Astacio then burst into tears.

The defense told the judge outright that Astacio will violate her probation. Astacio has already served about 45 days. Attorneys say then she'll stay in jail for about another two weeks.

"I think she meant everything she said I also think the judge is correct that throughout this proceeding, in the pre-sentence investigation and in her statement to the court, I didn't hear her once apologize for her own conduct and her own actions," said Zach Maurer, prosecutor.

"She's indicated that she's not likely to be compliant with that probation so unfortunately we're probably not done yet."

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