April 27, 2018 06:35 AM
The Judge Leticia Astacio soap opera that lasted more than two years rocked the reputation of judges and the rule of law in our community. That's what our area's top judge told Hall of Justice employees today.
Judge Craig Doran gave an exclusive interview with News10NBC Thursday.
Judge Doran is the Administrative Judge for the 7th Judicial District and therefore he was Judge Astacio's boss. I asked him what he wants you to understand about judges in our community.
Judge Craig Doran, Supervising Judge 7th Judicial District: "First and foremost I want your viewers to know how dedicated the judges and court staff are to doing justice."
I met Judge Doran in his office on the fifth floor at the Hall of Justice. It was next door, in his conference room, where he met Judge Astacio after she got back from Thailand last spring. She left the meeting in handcuffs and on her way to jail for the first time.
At a ceremony for Hall of Justice staff Thursday, Judge Doran acknowledged the effect on their reputation. "That's been rocked a little bit," he told a courtroom filled with clerks, court reporters, judges and court deputies.
Brean: "How do you deal with that?"
Judge Craig Doran: "So how we deal with that first of all is in situations like this you give us an opportunity to talk about the great work we do here."
Judge Doran showed me a report called the Excellence Initiative Plan. It detailed a series of changes ordered by the New York State Chief Judge in 2016. The report shows that during the two year Astacio drama, Monroe County Judges reduced the number of backlogged cases by 84 percent. In Rochester City Court, where Astacio was a judge but never heard a case over that time, the backlog dropped by 54 percent.
When the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct decided to remove Judge Astacio this week, it cited her drunk driving conviction and her behavior on the bench in 2015.
"For example," said Robert Tembeckjian, Administrator NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct. "Telling officers they should 'tase' or 'shoot' or 'punch' an allegedly (inaudible) defendant in the 'face.'"
In a sex abuse case, Tembeckjian said Judge Astacio "repeating a remark made by an attorney that the alleged victim had 'buyer's remorse,' and later saying she thought it was 'freakin' hilarious.''"
Brean: "Did you know that she had made comments in a sex abuse case or made comments to deputies to use force against an unruly defendant? Were you aware of that?"
Judge Craig Doran: "So it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment specifically on what I was and was not aware of."
Brean: "Prior to her DWI arrest, did you ever receive complaints about her?"
Judge Craig Doran: "So it's not appropriate for me to talk about specific complaints that I received in my capacity as the administrative judge, but I can tell you with certainty that had I received them they would have been acted on immediately and appropriately."
Judge Astacio is scheduled to be in court Friday afternoon for allegations that she violated probation when she tried to buy a shotgun.
Updated: April 27, 2018 06:35 AM
Created: April 26, 2018 04:34 PM
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