Judge Astacio pleads not guilty to DWI

Judge Astacio pleads not guilty to DWI

Overview

, @jonhand1

The keys were in the ignition and the car was running, according to Kowalski’s report.

Kowalski wrote that there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Astacio and she had bloodshot, glassy eyes, and mumbled speech.

The vehicle appeared to have struck something, Kowalski said in his report, because there was extensive damage to the front end of the vehicle and all four tires were flat.

When asked about the damage to the vehicle Astacio allegedly said “I don’t recall hitting anything, I just have a flat tire.”

When asked if she had consumed alcohol, Astacio told Kowalski: “I’ve drank in my lifetime,” according to court records.

In her initial conversation with Kowalski, Astacio tells him she is on her way “to city court to do the arraignments at 9:30 this morning,” and when asked if she knew which direction she was traveling she said “I’m not good with direction, east west, north, south,” according to court papers.

When asked again whether she had consumed alcohol she said “I don’t have to talk to you, you’re making me feel uncomfortable. I don’t feel comfortable in this car, I don’t know if you’re going to shoot me,” according to court papers.

Finally, when asked about performing field sobriety tests, Astacio told Kowalksi “No, I can’t do those because of my brain injury.” An injury that is later mentioned in the police report as stemming from a pregnancy issue.

“This arrest didn’t occur like normal arrests occur,” he said. “Certain things took place that we’ll be bringing out as the hearings are held and at the trial.”

“Judge Astacio, while she was treated magnanimously and wonderfully this morning by Judge Aronson, was not treated as an ordinary defendant by the New York State Police,” Fiandach said, alluding to a promise made in court by Aronson that he would not be distracted by the high level of public interest in the case and would treat Astacio like any other defendant.

“It was tough, she’s taking this thing very hard,” Fiandach said. “The bad part about this is it’s basically an unfortunate chain of some very questionable circumstances. Quite frankly, the procedures used in this case are bizarre, something I haven’t seen in other cases.”

Fiandach did not comment on many specifics of the investigation or her alleged comments to troopers.

Several of those comments were highlighted in court papers by prosecutors, including:

“Why are you doing this to me? You don’t have to do this. This isn’t part of your job.”

“Why are you f—— doing this to me. I would never do this to you.”

“I work out as well. I do a new program with music to weights. It’s a full body work out in which you do 100 reps for each body part for about one hour.”

And another comment allegedly in response to Tropper Casey Dolan telling her “Ma’am this trooper has an obligation to ask you to submit to that. You were involved in a motor vehicle accident.”

“No he doesn’t. He can just go and mind his own f—— business,” Astacio allegedly responded.

In a later post-arrest interview with troopers at the State Police barracks, Astacio said she was headed to the YMCA in Gates to exercise — not City Court — when she was found on the side of the road.

She also denied that she’d been driving.

“I wasn’t driving. You didn’t see me drive,” she said, according to an alcohol drug influence report filed by State Police.

Astacio faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

She has been hearing only civil cases in Rochester City Court since her arrest. A Democrat, she was elected to her position in 2014, defeating two other Democrats in a September primary before being unopposed in the general election.

Ontario County First Assistant Brian Dennis said he is prepared to take the case to trial, and said the ramifications of a judge being convicted of driving drunk are greater than those of a regular citizen.

“If those facts are true, which at trial will bear out, then obviously that is concern beyond the pale, quite frankly,” Dennis said. “Yes, she’ll be treated like any other citizen, but the ramifications of a judge violating the law on her way to preside certainly should cause everyone great concern.”