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Police: City Court judge laughed, cried when arrested

By: Bennett Loudon//March 11, 2016

Police: City Court judge laughed, cried when arrested

By: Bennett Loudon//March 11, 2016

Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio was chatty, insulting, profane and uncooperative the morning of Feb. 13, when she was charged with driving while intoxicated, according to police reports.

Astacio pleaded not guilty Friday at her arraignment. Because of potential conflicts of interest, Canandaigua City Court Judge Stephen Aronson is hearing the case, and the prosecutor is Assistant Ontario County District Attorney Brian Dennis.

According to court papers filed with the Rochester City Court Clerk’s office, Trooper Chris Kowalski came upon Astacio at the wheel of her running car on the shoulder of Interstate 490 near Mt. Read Boulevard at 7:54 a. m.

Leticia Astacio
Leticia Astacio

Kowalski “detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from defendant’s breath,” the trooper wrote in the arrest report.

The judge had bloodshot, glassy eyes and mumbled speech, Kowalski wrote.

Astacio had apparently collided with something because the car had extensive front-end damage and two flat tires on the driver’s side.

Astacio told Kowalski, “I’m fine,” and said she didn’t recall hitting anything.

“I just have a flat tire,” she told Kowalski, according to the report.

Kowalski asked Astacio if she had consumed alcohol and she replied: “I’ve drank in my lifetime.”

Astacio at first told Kowalski she was heading from her home to work where she was scheduled to preside over City Court arraignments starting at 9:30 that morning. After her arrest another judge was called in to replace her. In a second interview at the State Police barracks Astacio said she was heading to the YMCA on Elmgrove Road in Gates.

At the scene, Kowalski asked what direction she was heading and Astacio said: “I’m not good with direction, east, west, south, north.”

According to court documents, when Kowalski asked Astacio a second time if she had been drinking, Astacio replied: “I don’t have to talk to you. You’re making me feel uncomfortable in this car. I don’t know if you’re going to shoot me.”

Kowalski asked Astacio to take a field sobriety test and Astacio said she couldn’t “because of my brain injury.” The police report notes a “brain injury from a pregnancy issue.”

Astacio also told Kowalski: “I wasn’t driving. You didn’t see me drive.”

On the alcohol drug influence report, among the papers filed with the City Court Clerk, next to a section labeled attitude/behavior, Kowalski checked the words: talkative, insulting, crying, profanity, uncooperative, and laughing.

During the drive to the State Police barracks, Astacio said to Kowalski: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. You’re f*****g ruining my life.”

Court documents also show that when Trooper Casey Dolan told Astacio that they were obligated to ask her to submit to a sobriety test she responded: “No he doesn’t. He can just go and mind his own f*****g business.”

Astacio was elected in 2014. Since her arrest, the judge has been handling only civil cases. Her driver’s license has been revoked because she refused to take a blood-alcohol test.

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