The South Florida teen who made national headlines for flipping off a judge last year has cleaned up her act. During her latest court appearance, 18-year-old Penelope Soto received a round of applause for passing a drug rehabilitation program with flying colors.
Last year, Soto’s arraignment went viral when she gave Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat the middle finger during her arraignment on Xanax possession charges. The teen was laughing and irreverent as the judge set her bond at $5,000 and she walked off the bench, telling him “adios.” But then he called her back, hiked her bond to $10,000, and Soto flipped him off, blurting out an expletive and saying, “f--- you.” He held her in contempt of court and sentenced her to 30 days in jail.
Soto was in court Monday for a status hearing and looked much different than she did at her first arraignment. She was wearing a dark blouse and her hair was fastened in a modest hair clip. She smiled and answered the judge’s questions politely, and he was obviously impressed with her attitude adjustment. He told her that she has passed all eight of her drug tests and attended all of her counseling sessions.
He also praised her for her work, which includes helping out at a local thrift store. He said that she has worked hard to get to this point and that he is proud of her. He asked her to continue to attend all of her counseling sessions and to keep up the good work. He told her that he will dismiss all of the drug charges against her if she continues to do well in the program.