Learning how to respect others

05 Feb

Some have to learn it the hard way:

If you ever find yourself in a Florida courtroom facing Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat, don’t give him any lip — and certainly don’t flip him the bird. Penelope Soto, 18, who was arrested for drug possession, learned that Monday, when she irritated the judge with her insouciant attitude — flipping her hair, laughing derisively, dodging questions. Miffed, the judge slapped Soto with a $5,000 fine and bid her “bye-bye.” Soto laughed and responded, “Adios,” so he upped her fine to $10,000. “Are you serious?” the teen asked. “I am serious. Adios,” said the judge. Soto gave him the finger, at which point he sentenced her to 30 days in jail for contempt of court. And yes, he was serious.

Now, a smart person, finding themselves in court for drug possession, would, I think, try to do everything possible to lessen his/her sentence by at least showing respect to the judge. Have fun in jail, Ms. Soto.


Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Conflict Studies, Eyes+Sharp Stick, People


6 responses to “Learning how to respect others

  1. Tammy

    February 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Wow. And yet part of me thinks she probably still hasn’t learned her lesson…

    • Reese

      February 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I can just hear it, “Ugh, that judge is just so unfair!”

  2. 3boxesofbs

    February 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I’m going to go with the other side here.
    The judge is abusing the power of contempt of court here — it isn’t contempt of court but of him in this case.
    Sorry Judge but nothing says the defendant has to take you or the charges serious; especially when the jails are so full that they are practically turning out people as soon as they get there. Not when the fines being levied are more then some people will make in years, if ever — for victimless crime.

    What I see is nervousness not contempt. I see a judge that didn’t manage his court very well. She stood there waiting for him to dismiss her and responded to his light heartedness with the same.

    Frankly, I see a huge abuse of power on his part. Yeah, she screwed up but he let it get personal.

    • Dave

      February 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      AGREED!!!! 100%!!!

  3. enginerd

    February 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Judges have too much power. They are not elected, but appointed by their buddies. Activists judges have a way of making their own “laws.” Where are the checks and balances on judges?

    As soon as this judge slammed down the gavel and issued punishment, the case was closed. The woman did not respond kindly to his judgement.

    When the judge called her back and found her in “criminal contempt of court” this was a personal vendetta. What crime was committed? A woman used her first amendment rights to express her opinion. If this same thing happened on a city street there would be no cause for arrest.

    The constitution states that “no person shall be…deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Where was the “due process” for this woman’s reaction? She gets to go to jail just because a judge, in a manner of seconds, thought that she needed to learn a lesson?

    Judicial over-reach = yes!

    • Reese

      February 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      I share the concern with judicial over reach. I am also concerned that legislatures may have given this judge that authority through the ever-broadening scope of governmental power.

      We know that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech is not absolute. The question is whether her speech is protected in this instance.


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