Many of you have heard by now of Penelope Soto, the 18-year old girl who flipped off Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat and the disrespectful tone she had with the judge. The judge gave her 30 days for contempt, a felony in the eyes of the law. She had been arrested for possession of the prescription drug Xanax. She was also drunk and disorderly. With time behind bars, young Miss Soto had time to reflect on her behavior. Last Friday, she publicly apologized for her disrespectful attitude and vulgarity to the judge. Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat then vacated the 30 day Contempt of Court sentence and let her out of jail with time served. Miss Soto must still serve in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation. Judging from her behavior, in a court of law, she desperately needs this drug rehab time.
Disrespecting a judge, in his courtroom, is never a good idea. It reminds me of when I was in the Navy. I detested saluting some hot shot Lt. Jg who was younger than I was. But, as an old Chief Petty Officer told me, you are not saluting that punk in the uniform. You are saluting the uniform the punk is wearing. You may not like the judge in a courtroom. But, showing respect is not about the judge himself. You are respecting the court in which that judge presides. Little Penelope Soto is only 18-years old. She has a lot of growing up to do. Judge Rodriguez-Chomat was out of line, I think, when he set her bond at $5K and then to $10K for saying "Adios" to the judge. Most judges will let someone with no prior offenses (as was the case with Penelope) off on their own recognizance on a misdemeanor. In this regard, I think the judge went too far. Penelope went way too far with saying "F*** You" to the judge and flipping him off. They both were at fault. Hopefully, both will learn from this experience that made nation-wide news via the news media and YouTube.