MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Penelope Soto, 18, flipped off a Miami-Dade judge and cursed at him, she caught his wrath and was sent to jail for 30 days. But it turns out; 15 years ago another person felt the judge’s wrath on the floor of the Florida legislature.
In 1998, Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat was in the state legislature when he and a fellow legislator grabbed each other by their jackets and were prepared to punch each other during a debate over tuition vouchers before being separated by fellow legislators.
According to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel article from the time, the fight was caused when Rodriguez-Chomat had an issue with Carlos Valdes after Valdes criticized Rodriguez-Chomat for sending his kids to private school during the voucher debate.
After exchanges of words, during which Valdes said Rodriguez-Chomat called him a “jackass and worse,” according to the Sun-Sentinel. According to the report, Rodriguez-Chomat “took a swipe at Valdes’ tie” and then the near-fight started.
Rodriguez-Chomat would later apologize to Valdes for the incident, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Judge Rodriguez-Chomat’s videotaped dispute in bond court Monday came after Soto was laughing in court and then told the judge, “Adios” in a mocking manner as she walked off. Judge Rodriguez-Chomat ordered her back and increased her bond to $10,000.
Soto was shocked and began to walk off and flipped off the judge and told him to “*expletive* off.”
The judge asked her to come back again and asked her, “Did you tell me to *expletive* off?” Soto replied, “Yes sir,” and the judge ordered her held in contempt of court and to be held for 30 days in the county jail.
Hirsch said he knows of another judge in another state who had the same remark made to him in the very same context “the same vigorous monosyllabic remark followed by his last name.”
“And he asked the offender to come back and said, ‘Young lady, that’s [Expletive] JUDGE Last name.”