Teen released after apologizing for flipping off judge
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida teen has been released from jail after she apologized for giving a judge the finger.
Eighteen-year-old Penelope Soto made national headlines after she flipped off Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat when she learned her bond amount, earlier this week.
Besides giving him the finger, she also cursed him out. It was all caught by cameras in the courtroom. The footage went viral on the Internet soon after. Rodriguez-Chomat: "You said [expletive] me?"
Soto: "Yes, sir, I did."
The judge then laid down the law for her acting in contempt of court.
Rodriguez-Chomat: "You did say that? I find you in direct criminal contempt. Thirty days in the county jail."
Soto: "OK, that's fine."
Soto appeared in court quiet and relaxed Friday afternoon. She admitted to Rodriguez-Chomat that she was under the influence of Xanax and alcohol when the incident occurred. "I apologize not only to the court and you, but to my family," she said with tears in her eyes.
"Don't cry. I'm not a monster," responded Rodriguez-Chomat.
Soto's mother was present in court and said her daughter is different at home. "I'm concerned like always," said Lugannys Soto.
A therapist who met with Soto said she was under the influence of alcohol and two Xanax bars during the courtroom scandal. "And to me, it was significant that she mentioned that she didn't want to become famous for something wrong that she did," said Improving Life of Miami Director Alfredo Hernandez.
Soto's courtroom incident became a social media sensation. Footage of the incident received 7.3 million YouTube hits just this week.
Rodriguez-Chomat dropped the 30 days in jail for her behavior. He said Soto has to complete a drug court program, which includes treatment for drug addiction, which usually results in charges eventually being dropped for first-time offenders.
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