Deandre Somerville, a 21-year-old man from Florida who was selected to serve for a civil jury, has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for failing to attend the trial because he apparently overslept that day.
Judge John Kastrenakis ordered him to appear in court to explain why he did not show up to the civil trial wherein he had been sworn in as a juror.
“I just 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 WPTV.
The judge reportedly found Somerville in direct contempt of court. He also did not contact the court to let them know about his failure to show up that day, which delayed the trial for 45 minutes, according to court documents.
Somerville was initially sentenced to days in jail, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of at least 100 words, a year of probation and $233 in fees. The case has since sparked outrage on social media, with many people saying that he received an unfair punishment which would affect his chances of employment, considering he had no previous criminal record.
After spending 10 days in jail, Somerville decided to appeal the sentence in court.
“Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record,” Somerville said in court on Friday. “I left a criminal in handcuffs.”
His family and friends gathered during his hearing to support him, saying that he helps care for his disabled grandfather and has been involved in volunteer efforts in his community.
“This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom,” Somerville said, reading from the letter of apology he wrote to the judge.
Judge Kastrenakis decided to reduce his probation but still determined that Somerville committed a serious offense. His 1-year probation was reduced to three months and his 150 hours of community service were reduced to 30 hours.
“I came to the conclusion it was deserving of punishment. Good people make bad mistakes,” Kastrenakis said.