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Florida man with no prior record gets 10 days in the slammer for missing jury duty




A 21-year-old Florida man with no prior criminal record received little sympathy from a judge for missing jury duty in August, and says his "life will never be the same again" after the ordeal.


What are the details?

WPTV-TV reported Deandre Somerville was sworn in as a juror on a civil case, but the young man says he missed the continuation of the trial the next day because he overslept. "I woke up and I was like, 'Oh, shoot. It's past the time," Somerville told the outlet.

The trial was delayed by 45 minutes, and to make matters worse, Somerville did not make contact with the jury office to let them know what happened. A few days later, Somerville was served with a subpoena to answer to court for being a no-show.

An apology from Somerville fell on deaf ears, and Judge John Kastrenakes convicted the AWOL juror with direct criminal contempt, forced him to serve 10 days in jail, gave him one year of probation, hit him with 150 hours of community service, and ordered him to write a letter of apology and pay a $223 fine.

"I said, 'Sir, honestly, I overslept, and I didn't understand the seriousness of this," Somerville recalled. "He asked me if I had a criminal record. I said, 'Sir, I've never been arrested.'"
Somerville has already served his jail time, and told the Associated Press that he spend his days behind bars writing and praying.


BuzzFeed News reported that Somerville's public defender appealed his client's sentence, "arguing that the punishment was egregious given the circumstances, citing his ties to the community and lack of a criminal record."

On Friday, Judge Kastrenakes accepted Somerville's apology and agreed to lighten the sentence, reducing his probation to three months and cutting the community service requirement down to 30 hours. Still, the judge gave Somerville a stern lecture, and reportedly told the young man that the serving on a jury is as important as military service.

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