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Leticia Astacio must spend 180 days in jail for violating the terms of her probation. That is half a year. This is what happens when you violate your probation, and given her original charges, 6 months is not that much time. However, the size of the circus atmosphere surrounding Astacio’s case shows how much Rochester loves putting down black folks, especially women. Just ask Lovely Warren. If it rains on the Fourth of July, someone will find a way to accuse Warren of causing it.
Astacio was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated in February 2016. Six months later she was convicted of and given a one year conditional discharge, basically probation. This would be a routine thing, but since she was an elected judge, all local media had a field day. Local radio “personality” Bob Lonsberry rarely used her name, only referring to her as “drunk judge”. She has been harassed online and in public since then. In October 2016, Astacio faced allegations that she violated her probation by drinking and trying to start her car. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest when she failed to meet a court date because she was out of the country. In January of the next year, there were allegations of an confrontation in Henrietta. She was physically harassed by a person, who didn’t even live in the city and couldn’t vote for her, at a local bowling alley. She got into trouble for attempting to purchase a firearm (she was acquitted of that). Her occupation as a judge was taken from her. Finally, this week, she was sentenced to 180 days in jail for probation violations.
We can argue how much of this she “deserved” all day. The simple fact is that she violated the law, and the subsequent actions she took after being on probation were violations of the law as well, though I can only assume she pursued acquiring a gun to protect herself, given the amount of harassment she received. Whether justice was truly served is a bigger question. Drunk driving in Monroe County is woefully common. Elected officials get caught drinking and driving a lot as well. This does not mitigate her initial charge, but the hyperbole around her being charged make it seem as if she is the only person to have ever sinned while in service to the city.
So sure, perhaps there was some justice served in Leticia Astacio’s case, but we cannot pretend that it was blind or even-handed. So long as white, male breakers of the law continue to be coddled and given excuses for their abherrant behavior so that they can walk free, Rochester is far from a progressive beacon.
Chris Thompson is an engineer, writer, comedian, and activist who made Rochester, New York his home in 2008. In addition to his role as Contributor for 540Blog , he currently writes the Chronicles of Nonsense segment for the Almost Tuesday show on WAYO-FM 104.3, and regularly posts and writes on his own on Instagram and Twitter at @ChronsOfNon.Additionally , Chris is a Food Writer for Rochester City Newspaper. His blog is www.chroniclesofnonesense.com