Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio gave News 8 an exclusive interview about her DWI case that has stretched well past a year.
In a previous story, we took parts of the interview to address the Thailand episode that landed her jail.
In addition to the jail time, Astacio has been sentenced to 3 years of probation and was ordered to wear a device for 6 months that detects alcohol consumption.
The Ontario County District Attorney’s Office, which is handling her case declined to comment citing the fact the case is still being litigated.
Below are Astacio’s answers to questions that many in the community have been asking.
Q: You’re not the bench. You’re making the salary you’re making. Why not step down?
A: I’ve certainly thought about it. I had a private practice and I made decent money and that’s always a good time, but I feel like I’d be giving up like I’d be giving in and I’d be letting so many people down. This isn’t just about me, it’s about a whole system that I became a part of to try to make it a better system and I think it still needs some improving.
Q: Do you plan to abide by the probation? (Astacio’s lawyer had asked the judge for straight jail time as opposed to probation claiming his client would violate probation and they would end up back in court.)
A: It has been my intention to abide by every condition that has been set upon me from the outset … (My lawyer) said she’s going to violate probation and we’ll be right back here. Obviously, that’s not true, I did go to probation, but he was making a legal argument.
Q: What mistakes do you think you have made?
A: There were times that perhaps if I could have kept my attitude in check a little better, everything would have been completely different and that is still a work in progress.
Q: People wonder if you’re an alcoholic. How do you respond to that?
A: We’ve had an OASAS-certified evaluation, which is what the statute requires, we’ve had multiple evaluations that indicate that I don’t have a substance abuse problem … I’m a parent and I’ve said repeatedly that if I’m an alcoholic or a sociopath or if I’m a whatever I want to know that and address it and fix it and be best person I can be, this goes far beyond being a judge.
Q. What misperceptions do you think the community has about you right now?
A. I think a lot of people think I’ve been convicted of a multitude of DWIs. A lot of people think I’ve been arrested multiple times for DWI, for driving with suspended license. A lot of people think that I’ve violated probation repeatedly in spite of the fact that I haven’t been on probation.
(Astacio has been convicted of one DWI in August of 2016. She plead guilty later that year of violating her conditional discharge [not probation] by drinking. She was sentenced to jail and probation this summer for missing both a test to determine if she had been drinking and a court hearing.)
A lot of people think I wasn’t allowed to leave the country which wasn’t the case.
People think that I refuse to do treatment. I have been evaluated repeatedly and treatment hasn’t been recommended. When a treatment program was created for me, I did it. I completed it, I never missed a session.