In an abrupt change of heart, a Florida judge expunged the record of a 21-year-old man who was sentenced to 10 days in jail for oversleeping and missing jury duty.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes originally sentenced Deandre Somerville to 10 days in jail, which he already served, 12 months of probation and 150 hours of community service.
Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 8: In a hearing Friday, the judge reduced Somerville’s probation to three months and the community service to 30 hours, according to WSVN-TV.
A day later, Kastrenakes entirely threw out his finding of criminal contempt against Somerville, declaring him “totally rehabilitated,” The New York Times reported.
“I firmly believe that Deandre Somerville is the type of person who can achieve anything he wants in this world,” the judge wrote in a court order, according to the Times. “He is a thoughtful and respectful young man. He cares deeply about his family.”
“In conclusion, I do not want even a finding of contempt to be gleaned from a perusal of his background or record,” Kastrenakes wrote.
Somerville, who had no previous criminal record, read a letter Friday in court, which the judge had ordered, apologizing for missing jury duty.
He wrote that the jail experience was frightening, WSVN reported.
“As a result of my irresponsible actions, my life has been forever changed,” he said. “Everything I’ve gone through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
Original story: A Florida judge threw the book at a 21-year-old man who missed jury duty after oversleeping, sentencing the 21-year-old to 10 days in jail for lapsing in his civic duty.
Deandre Somerville was chosen as a juror at a trial in West Palm Beach in August and said he knew he was supposed to return the next day, according to WPTV-TV, but when Somerville overslept, he figured he missed the trial and didn't bother to call.
He was later served with a subpoena ordering him to appear in court.
“I talked to my grandad for a while and he said the best thing you can always do is honesty, so I went for the hearing,” Somerville told WPTV.
When he appeared before the judge, he explained what happened and apologized.
“I said, ‘Sir, honestly I overslept and I didn't understand the seriousness of this.’ He asked me if I had a criminal record. I said, ‘Sir, I've never been arrested,’” Somerville told the news station.
Court records showed the trial was delayed by 45 minutes as court officials tried to reach Somerville.
The judge sentenced Somerville to 10 days in jail, a year of probation and 150 hours of community service.
“It hurts, but it's a lesson learned. It could have been worse. He could have given me 365 days in jail,” Somerville said.
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