This Is What Happens When You Break Probation — Even If You’re A Judge

Probation is a serious matter for those who have committed criminal offenses. These individuals have already been found guilty of a crime. Sometimes jail time is attached, and offenders are eventually released on probation. Other times, individuals without a criminal record will avoid incarceration and be released on probation. The consequences for probation violations aren’t pretty.

Probation violation consequences can be extreme even for those who usually seem above the law — like judges. When former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio missed a couple of probation appointments with a court-appointed officer, the law was swift in its reply. Ontario County Court Judge Lisa Toole slammed Astacio with a whopping 180 days in jail.

Toole said, “I’m not happy about it. I’m not going to tolerate it. Your actions show you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. It stops today and it stops now.”

The purpose of probation is to give offenders a second chance — which is why those who fail to deliver the promised lifestyle changes most often can expect immediate consequences, and severe ones at that.

Astacio failed to understand what the probation system means. She admitted that she intentionally missed the aforementioned appointments simply to get back in front of a judge. She wanted to use this strategy to argue that the previous sentence wasn’t legal and that she shouldn’t have to continue to serve it. 

But the previous ruling was made because of her continued failure to accept the restrictions placed upon her: she tried to buy a firearm from a local Dick’s Sporting Goods, failed an alcohol drug test in June, did not implement the mandated Ignition Interlock Program, and more. 

Senior Assistant District Attorney Chris Kvam of Monroe County said, “Everything that has happened to Ms. Astacio has happened because of her choice. Those choices started with her decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. Those decisions continued after her sentence after her trial where she did not adhere to the restrictions of the interlock device and she put herself where she is today.”

The fact that even a judge can be slammed with probation violation should make other offenders more aware of the potential consequences for doing so.

Probation can be violated in a number of different ways. These include the possession or use of illegal substances, getting arrested for committing a crime, failing to appear for a court-mandated meeting, failing to report to a probation officer when scheduled, or visiting people or places that have been restricted in the probation order. Probation violation very often result in immediate incarceration.

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