New York Judge Leticia Astacio indicted on felony weapons charge

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Leticia Astacio was indicted on the charge of attempted criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon, a felony. She was arrested in April after being accused of trying to purchase a shotgun at a Dick's Sporting Goods.

New York Judge Leticia Astacio indicted on felony weapons charge

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – An embattled Rochester city court judge has been indicted by a grand jury on a weapons charge.

Leticia Astacio was indicted Tuesday in Monroe County on the charge of attempted criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon, a felony. She was arrested in April after being accused of trying to purchase a shotgun at a Dick's Sporting Goods.

Astacio remains on probation for her drunken driving conviction and has not been hearing cases since February 2016. The terms of Astacio's probation prohibit her from "possessing a firearm, dangerous weapon, or noxious substance."

It's the same charge as her earlier charge, but a grand jury ruled that there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the criminal case.

"The arraignment date has not yet been set, but it is expected to take place next week," Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch, who is prosecuting the case, said in a statement.

Porsch said, "Astacio, knowing that she was prohibited from possessing a shotgun because of a disability that rendered her ineligible to lawfully possess a shotgun, attempted to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun" on April 2.

Mark Foti, Astacio's attorney, offered clarification, noting that the disability in this case isn't one that deals with mental illness or defect. Instead, it is a legal disability, he said.

"We are disappointed that the grand jury in Leticia Astacio's case was led to an indictment that we believe is inconsistent with the law," Foti said in a statement. "We look forward to the opportunity to bring evidentiary and constitutional challenges against these charges in court, and we are ready to litigate."

Astacio allegedly tried to purchase a shotgun but was turned away by store employees, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Todd Baxter said Astacio tried to buy a shotgun at another Dick's Sporting Goods before going to the Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. Deputies responded to the store there for the "third-party report of a person believed to be Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio" as she was trying to buy a shotgun.

"Store personnel made the decision not to sell the gun to Ms. Astacio based on store policy," the Monroe County Sheriff's Department stated in a news release.

Dick's company policy states that employees reserve the right to refuse to sell a gun to anyone. If a denial is issued, that extends to all Dick's stores.

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Astacio appeared before the state Court of Appeals last week, where her attorney, Robert Julian, argued that she should not be removed from the bench.

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended removing her from her position. The commission cited a 2016 drunken driving conviction, two subsequent violations of the conditions of her probation, and other inappropriate conduct while she was on the bench.

The Court of Appeals does not issue rulings from the bench, meaning that a written decision will be handed down at a later date.

 

This article originally ran on usatoday.com.