After serving 10 days in prison for missing jury duty, Deandre Somerville’s record was cleared on Monday (October 7).
Additionally, the rest of the 21-year-old Florida man’s sentence, which included a year of probation and 150 hours of community service, has been vacated, CNN reports.
“After going through that, my life will never be the same again,” he told CNN.
Somerville overslept on the day the second day he was supposed to appear for jury duty in a civil trial. When he realized he’d overslept, he decided instead to go to his regular job as a specialist at a local park that leads youth activities.
“I should have called, and I own up to that. I made a mistake, but I didn’t know I would go to jail,” he said. “I don’t even have a criminal record.”
Judge John Kastrenakes said his absence caused a 45-minute delay in court and they could not reach him by phone. Kastrenakes found Somerville in contempt of court, sentenced him to 10 days in jail, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of at least 100 words, a year of probation and $233 in fees, according to court records, CNN reports.
The judge also said Somerville was getting “just a taste of jail.”
Somerville not only described the experience as “shocking”, but he was also concerned for the well-being of his grandfather, who the young man helps care for after he lost 50 percent of his mobility due to a heart attack.
“Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record,” Somerville said in court Friday (October 4) during his appeal hearing. “I left a criminal in handcuffs.”
“This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom,” the West Palm Beach man said in court, reading from his letter to the judge.
Kastrenakes said Somerville’s letter was “moving, sincere and heartfelt,” during his ruling on Saturday (October 5), according to CNN.
“I know that he has been totally rehabilitated,” the judge wrote, and later praised him as “a thoughtful and respectful young man.”
Kastrenakes vacated the contempt charge and rescinded the sentence of probation, clearing Somerville’s record.
Still, he stood by his original decision and said he ordered probation because he wanted people to understand the severity of missing jury duty.
Kastrenakes said, “[It] is serious business deserving of attention, respect and adherence to their oaths.”
(Photo: Mint Images)