WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Deandre Somerville spent 10 days in a Florida jail after he overslept and didn’t show up for jury duty, but the judge now says he won’t have a criminal record.
Judge John Kastrenakes found the 21-year-old from West Palm Beach in contempt of court last month after he missed the civil trial and didn’t call the court to explain what happened.
Kastrenakes vacated the contempt finding and rescinded the sentence of probation in an order he signed on Saturday.
Somerville was originally sentenced 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. Somerville did not have a criminal record and the punishment prompted outrage on social media.
The judge reduced Somerville’s punishment on Friday after the young man appealed his case 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.”
He apologized in his letter to the judge.
“This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom,” Somerville said, reading from his letter.
Friends and family told the judge that Somerville helps care for his disabled grandfather and volunteers in his community, CNN affiliate WPTV reported.
In his ruling on Saturday, Kastrenakes said that Somerville’s letter was “moving, sincere and heartfelt.”
“I know that he has been totally rehabilitated,” the judge wrote.
He said that he ordered probation because he wanted other people to understand that serving on a jury “is serious business deserving of attention, respect and adherence to their oaths.”
He said the publicity surrounding the case made this clear, so Somerville’s punishment was no longer necessary.
Kastrenakes praised Sommerville as “a thoughtful and respectful young man” and said he was vacating the contempt finding and rescinding the sentence of probation, so it would not be on his record.