Judge Not

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The judge just threw the book at me (courtesy of myfoxla.com)

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to avoid any serious entanglements with the law. About the worst thing I ever did–or ever got caught for–was drive too fast. Anything else either wasn’t serious or never harmed anyone beyond myself–usually both.

I was also pretty crafty and knew not only how to cover my tracks, but also how to plan for every possible circumstance or situation. Close attention was paid to every little detail and loose ends were rarely left untied. More importantly, though, I never got into any real trouble and still have a clean record to this day.

Some of my friends weren’t so lucky. There were the usual charges of underage drinking, possession, minor vandalism and public drunkenness, to name a few, but there were also rumors of drug trafficking, assault and even hard time behind bars.

I hate to admit it, but a handful of my buddies completely lost it after high school. And if drugs were involved, they certainly weren’t pot or psychedelics; they were cocaine, crack and maybe even crystal meth.

And if you know anything about crystal meth, you know that it’s serious BAD NEWS. Just check this out if you don’t believe me.

At any rate, I was lucky and when I have visited a court room, it’s normally been for a minor traffic offense or jury duty. My general practice is to avoid anything that might land me in court and force me to speak with a judge. But if I did land there–Heaven forbid–I would be sure to behave in a respectful manner and to address the judge politely. After all, this person could send me to jail at any time, so why take chances?

I wish someone had asked Miami teenager Penelope Soto the same question. She just disrespected a judge in Florida and paid a pretty hefty price for it.

Soto was busted recently for illegal possession of the muscle relaxer Xanax and found herself in front of Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat. As he was preparing to set her bond, the judge asked about her jewelry and she laughed.

“It’s not a joke, you know. We are not in a club,” Rodriguez-Chomat told Soto. “Be serious about it.”

She apologized to the judge, who then set her bail at $5,000 and said, “Bye bye.” Again Soto laughed, but this time she followed it with a smarmy “adios” and started to walk away.

What happened to you, Penelope? (courtesy of NBC Miami)

Rodriguez-Chomat was not amused.

He immediately called Soto back and raised her bond to $10,000.

“Are you serious?” she asked him in disbelief. And she quickly got her answer.

“I am serious,” the judge told Soto before giving her a taste of her own medicine. “Adios.”

The smart response and cheers from the crowd must have bothered the young drug offender because this time, she flipped Rodriguez-Chomat the bird and said, “F— you!”

Not a smart move, sister.

The last laugh came within seconds of Soto’s bad behavior and belonged to Rodriguez-Chomat: he added a contempt charge and sent Soto off to jail for the next thirty days.

So congratulations, Penelope Soto. You’re my new “Dumb Ass of the Week.”

And trust me: you earned it.

Posted on February 7, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I still think she takes second place to the dumb a** who threw the finger at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 🙂

  2. I needed a good laugh, Ella no entendía que es muy malo para la boca de un juez. Esperemos que aprender. But, such is the wild sophomoric nature of youth. She should have paid more attention to Lindsey Lohan and her dealings with the courts,,, 😉

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