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Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Don't Flip the Judge

     Your fingers can get you into a lot of trouble. Citizens who flip-off police officers are often arrested for disorderly conduct. School kids who make firearms gestures with their hands are suspended. And if you raise your middle finger while standing before an arraignment judge, they will haul you off to jail. If you don't believe this, ask Penelope Soto.
     On February 4, 2013, 18-year-old Penelope Soto, having been charged with the illegal possession of Xanax, stood before Miami-Dade County Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat. Pursuant to the judge's decision regarding the amount of Soto's bail he inquired about her assets. When the judge asked Soto specifically how much her jewelry was worth, she laughed.
     Visibly annoyed by Soto's casual attitude in his court room, the judge said, "It's not a joke, you know. We're not in a club, be serious about it."
     "I'm serious about it," Soto replied. "You just made me laugh. I apologize. It's worth a lot of money."
     "Like what?" the judge asked.
     "Like Rick Ross. It's worth money."
     Judge Rodriguez-Chomat, who had no idea who Rick Ross was [a south Florida rapper], again became annoyed. He asked Soto if she had taken any drugs in the past 24 hours.
     "Actually, no," she replied.
     Judge Rodriguez-Chomat set Soto's bail at a very low $5,000. Moving onto the next case, he said, "Bye, bye."
     Instead of thanking the judge for his leniency, Soto replied, "Adios."
    Obviously irritated by Soto's flippant response and dismissive attitude, the judge summoned her back to the bench and upped her bail to $10,000. Still a relatively low amount.
     Now it was Soto's turn to be angry. "Are you serious?" she exclaimed.
     "I am serious," he replied.
     As she was being escorted out of the court room, Soto turned back to the judge, blurted "F-you," and flipped him the finger.
     Shocked and obviously angered by this prisoner's disrespect, Judge Rodriguez-Chomat cited Soto for contempt of court. He sentenced her on the spot to thirty days in jail.

1 comment:

  1. well, the judge showed some professional restrain; more time in jail would've been justified. remember years ago when an undergrad college student and working with a public defender and a young women showed in sentence court for a shoplifting misdemeanor; the young woman hd her hair in curlers, the judge asked if she had a more important date later and gave her 24 hours in jail...the judge rescinded a few hours later but made his point.