NYS Senator wants to find money to speed up process of investigating Judge Astacio

February 12, 2018 06:10 PM

The state agency investigating Rochester Judge Leticia Astacio is begging for more money. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct says if it had it, Judge Astacio's case would have been done last summer.  
News 10NBC is asking state lawmakers if they're prepared to to give it. 

"There was a pretty notorious case in Rochester," said Sen. Catharine Young as she started questioning the administrator of the judicial conduct commission. She was referring to Judge Leticia Astacio. 

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Two years ago, Astacio was arrested for DWI. Since then she was convicted, violated her sentence and probation, got sent to jail twice, is barred from the courtroom but still makes her $174-thousand salary. 

The head of the commission says it hasn't had a budget increase in eight years and doesn't even have the money to pay for a stenographer. 

Robert Tembeckjian, NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct: Transcription services would go a long way to speeding the process up and we just don't have a nickel for it.
Tembeckjian said a stenographer would have helped conclude Astacio's case six months ago. 

So today I got Senator Young on the phone in Albany. 

Brean: "When you heard the Administrator say they can't get cases done quickly because they can't afford a stenographer, what did you think about that?"

Sen. Catharine Young, (R) 57th District: "I thought it was shocking and very surprising testimony because it's the first time I've heard Mr. Tembeckjian say something like that."
Brean: "Do you think the Commission ought to get money to be able to hire a stenographer?"

Sen. Catharine Young, (R) 57th District: "Absolutely I think they should. We want to be as careful as we can be with taxpayer money. we don't want to have it wasted. But at the same time I think it would be a good investment to make sure these cases in an expeditious manner."
The state budget has to be passed by April first. Governor Cuomo has proposed a $112,000 budget increase for the Judicial Conduct Commission this year. But Administrator Tembeckjian says $78,000 of that is going to cover rent increases. 

Senator Young says the cost of a full-time stenographer, with benefits, is between $80,000 and $100,000 a year. 


Berkeley Brean

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