Miami woman out of jail after flipping off judge

Penelope Soto no longer charged with criminal contempt of court

Penelope Soto walks out jail with a shawl covering her head.
Penelope Soto walks out jail with a shawl covering her head.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Miami-Dade County judge's tough love sentence for a sassy high school senior may have given the 18-year-old a second shot at life.

Penelope Soto became a social media sensation after video of her flippant bond court appearance went viral.

Soto went before Judge Jorge Rodriguez Chomat on Monday after being caught with Xanax. "Sassy" would be the polite term for her performance. Dressed in an orange jail jumper Soto swaggered up to the podium, combing her long pink-hued hair with her hands while blurting out snarky statements laced with sarcasm.

After giving her the standard bond, the judge sees her off with a "bye, bye" to which Soto tartly replied "Adios," lingering on the final "S" with a smart-aleck smile and gleam in her eye as she walked off.

The judge chuckled before calling her back and doubling her bond to $10,000 at which point Soto is heard dropping an F-bomb while flipping her middle finger at the judge.

It's at that point that he charged her with criminal contempt of court and ordered her to county jail for 30 days. Serving a few days in jail can be sobering it would seem.

On Friday, a handcuffed Soto casted sad eyes at the judge amid a disposition that seemed to radiate an annoyed boredom with the proceeding rather than remorse.

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Soto would say she was sorry, telling the judge, "I apologize not only to you but to my family," before sniffling back a soft cry.

Tears may have been streaming down her cheeks, but it was clear there's some sass left in her yet.

On more than one occasion her lawyer had to calm her talk-back tendency. At various points in the proceeding, her lawyer told her not to interrupt the judge.

Soto is still facing a count for Xanax possession. During Friday's hearing, Local 10 learned she was on the drug during the hearing on Feb. 4.

The judge dropped the rest of her jail sentence, which she earned with her sassy performance. Gone is the criminal contempt of court charge that would have made her a convicted felon for life.

She was also granted the opportunity to enter the Drug Court Program. If she completes all the requirements, the Xanax-related charge could also be dropped.

It is an incredible second chance for a troubled young woman who is said to be plagued by anxiety.

For all her bravado, she left jail Friday afternoon with her face veiled by a blue pashmina, brushing past a crush of reporters before climbing into the back seat of a white car.

Alfredo Hernandez, a rehab administrator, told the court on Friday that Soto didn't want to be famous. The reality is her smart-talking court appearance is now infamous.