I know where she is going to sit.
This morning at 9, when she shows up at the Hall of Justice, I know where they are going to make her sit. Ordered by the judges who supervise her to start showing up to work, they have gotten her a desk and a chair and they will be, per the decision of those same judges, in the public area.
Not in an office. Not in a back hallway. Not in chambers somewhere.
She’s lost the privilege of going to those places. In fact, judges and clerks and others have been told to keep an eye on her and out for her, and to report if they see her in any of the non-public areas from which she is barred.
She is #drunkjudge and yesterday morning she got out of jail. Forty-five days. Not for the misdemeanor DWI, but for the months of insolence and non-compliance. For the open defiance of a process and a court wherein she once presided.
Her lawyer said she would violate her probation on the first day.
That was yesterday, and let’s hope he was wrong. Let’s hope she can find three years of compliance and lawfulness to string together.
And let’s hope she can find a little privacy.
Which gets back to where she’s going to sit.
Because her work station must be in a public area of the courthouse, and because all public areas are open to the people and the press – and their cameras – we could see her on the evening news tonight. She could be a stop on the downtown gawkers tour.
But she shouldn’t be.
She should be left alone.
There’s no sense in compounding her stupidity with our own. There’s no sense in pestering her as she has this one last chance to put herself aright.
If she violates her probation, put her on the news. If the Judicial Conduct Commission sanctions her, put her on the news. If she goes out of her way to attract attention or engage in poor conduct, put her on the news.
But otherwise, leave her alone. And maybe pray for her.
And hope that she has the sense and the humility to embrace her new situation, and show her supervising judge and her probation officer that she is earnest, compliant, humble and eager to put her life and career backtogether.
Judge Theresa Johnson – a wise and good-hearted jurist – will assign her legal research and other tasks, and will presumably be available as some sort of mentor or mother hen. Leticia Astacio would be wise to closely follow and obey Judge Johnson’s counsel and rules – not just to be submissive, but to be strengthened and guided.
And the probation that Astacio’s lawyer said she wouldn’t follow must be a structure she embraces – to prove herself and protect herself. If she screws up, she goes back to jail. Worse, if she screws up, her last chance at public, personal and professional rehabilitation will be gone.
She should also embrace the bracelet they put on her. For six months, she will be electronically monitored around the clock to make sure she doesn’t drink alcohol. She should do those six months for the judge who ordered her to wear it, and she should volunteer to do another six months for her children and her future.
She’s got to stop fighting the system and start fighting her demons.
She’s got to go forward and upward.
And that starts at a little desk in a hallway.
Where, notwithstanding her previous defiance and narcissism, she needs the rest of us to support her.
She’s on a tightrope, and she doesn’t need us hoping she falls.
She needs to be left alone, to do her job and save her life.
We need to pray for her, not gawk at her.
Because this is her last chance.