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Criminal Justice

Judge literally applauds progress of teen jailed for courtroom bird flip

Posted Feb 28, 2013 10:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Miami teen who angered a South Florida judge when she flipped him the bird earlier this month got a better reception when she appeared in court this week.

A different judge in the case, Jeffrey Rosinek, clapped his hands in applause after learning 18-year-old Penelope Soto had passed eight drug tests and attended all counseling sessions since she was ordered into treatment, report CNN and NBC Miami.

CNN described Soto as “a kinder, gentler, more polite young woman” during her latest courtroom appearance. She told the judge she is working part time and plans to go back to school.

"Ms. Soto, congratulations,” Rosinek said. “I think lots of things have changed for you.”

During a bail hearing on Feb. 4, Soto laughed, smiled, stroked her hair and swayed during her courtroom appearance. She became angry when the judge raised her bond from $5,000 to $10,000, raising her third finger and exclaiming, “F--- you.”

Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat had responded with a 30-day sentence. After spending five days in jail, Soto apologized to the judge. He vacated his contempt finding and set aside the jail sentence on condition that Soto complete a treatment program.

Soto, who is accused of possession of Xanax, is scheduled to appear in court again on March 22.

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