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New York State's highest court suspends Judge Leticia Astacio

New York State's highest court suspends Judge Leticia Astacio

April 12, 2018 09:26 AM

The details of the felony arrest of Judge Leticia Astacio led the New York State Court of Appeals to suspend Judge Leticia Astacio with pay on Wednesday night.

State law says "the court of appeals may suspend a judge or justice from exercising the powers of his (or her) office... while he (or she) is charged in this state with a felony."

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The law says the judges of the Court of Appeals can suspend with or without pay. 

News10NBC was the only local news at the Hall of Justice Tuesday when Judge Astacio was walked into a courtroom to be arraigned. She's charged with attempted criminal purchase of a weapon which violates her probation. She is on probation because the court found she violated the terms of her 2016 DWI conviction twice. 

The Sheriff's Office says Astacio tried to buy a shotgun at two Dick's Sporting Goods stores, one in Greece and the other in Henrietta. As News10NBC first reported, a clerk told Monroe County Sheriff's investigators he refused to sell Astacio the gun because she seemed "very distraught and upset."

A store manager told investigators Astacio said she "didn't even really want a gun but felt she needed one."

"I am actually incredibly afraid of guns," Judge Astacio said in a public Facebook broadcast Saturday night.

In the Facebook post, Judge Astacio said it was her sister who tried to the buy the gun at Dick's. 

Judge Leticia Astacio, Facebook Live: “And they flagged her and refused to sell her a gun because they decided that she was me.”

Judge Astacio's sister posted on Facebook that she did not attempt to buy a gun. The court papers say Astacio identified herself at the stores with her New York State driver's license. 

On Facebook, Astacio said she's been threatened online. 

Judge Leticia Astacio, Facebook Live: “Now it would make sense for me to purchase a gun because these psychopaths threaten me regularly. I get death threats daily. I was afraid in my home. Do you get that?”

News10NBC asked Rochester Police if Astacio ever filed a complaint about those threats. The chief's office said News10NBC would have to file a freedom of information request to get that information. News10NBC will make that application. 

Judge Astacio has not heard a case since her DWI conviction in August 2016. 

In court at her arraignment Tuesday night, Judge Astacio was represented by the Monroe County Public Defender's Office. News10NBC talked to the attorney, Jill Paperno. She said that her office is "reviewing (Judge Astacio's) eligibility to see if she qualifies" for a public defender

Judge Astacio makes $180,000 a year. 

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the only entity in the state that can punish and remove an elected judge, is currently reviewing Judge Astacio's case. The Commission's work is confidential by law.

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Berkeley Brean

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