Rochester, NY – Disgraced Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio was finally suspended by the New York State Court of Appeals on Wednesday night, but she will continue to collect her $187,200 annual taxpayer-funded salary.
Under state law, the seven-member court could have suspended Astacio, 36, without pay, according to WHEC.
The decision was made on the heels of the judge being charged with a felony gun offense on Tuesday.
According to New York law, “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,” WHEC reported.
Monroe County Public Defender Jill Paperno, who represented Astacio during her Tuesday night arraignment, told the news outlet that her office was “reviewing [Astacio’s] eligibility to see if she qualifies” to receive legal counsel free of charge.
According to WHEC, the only state entity with the power to reprimand and/or remove an elected judge from office is the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The commission was reviewing Astacio’s case.
Court documents indicated that Astacio presented Henrietta Dick’s Sporting Goods employees with her driver’s license on Apr.2, while she illegally attempted to buy a Maverick 88 12 gauge shotgun, WHEC reported.
Investigators learned that Astacio had actually first attempted to purchase a weapon at another Dick’s location in nearby Greece. She became upset when her request was denied, and told employees at the Greece location that she would simply acquire the shotgun at another store.
The employees alerted their counterpart at the Henrietta location regarding the incident with Astacio.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., Astacio was spotted inside the Henrietta store by an employee, who notified management.
Astacio eventually requested to speak with the store manager at the gun counter, and demanded to know why her attempts to purchase a weapon were being denied.
She was repeatedly told that Dick’s reserved the right to refuse service to anyone at any of their locations, WHEC reported.
According to her court-ordered probation conditions, Astacio is “prohibited from possessing a firearm, dangerous weapon, or noxious substance.”
As news of the thwarted purchase spread, Astacio took to social media, and claimed that the woman who attempted to buy the gun was actually her sister.
“They thought she was me,” Astacio said in the since-deleted Facebook video, according to WHEC.
“I really don’t like guns,” Astacio noted in the video. “Now, it would make sense to me for me to purchase a gun, because these psychopaths threaten me regularly. I get death threats daily.”
Astacio’s sister, Felicia Astacio, denied her claims, and took to Facebook to point out that not only has she never been to Dick’s to purchase a gun, but – unlike Judge Astacio – she has a valid gun permit.
Astacio has retained her employment as a judge, despite being arrested for drunk driving on Feb. 16, 2016.
Her defiant antics, smug demeanor, and arrogant outbursts have been commonplace during her multiple appearances in relation to violations of her sentence.
Astacio has continued to collect her $175,500 salary during her jail time and absence from the court. Effective Apr. 1, she and other city judges across New York State received a pay hike, which increased Astacio’s grossly-undeserved salary to $187,200, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Astacio’s term will expire in 2024, according to WHEC.
The judge was released on her own recognizance, and her next court appearance was scheduled for May 3.