A black man who overslept has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and 1 year probation for missing jury duty.
Court records show 21-year-old Deandre Somerville of West Palm Beach Florida was ruled in contempt of court by a circuit court judge.
What’s more, the Judge, John S Kastrenakes also ordered Deandre to 150 hours of community service, a $223 fine, and to write a letter of apology of no less than 100 words to sincerely show he was sorry.
Deandre says shortly after missing jury duty for his August 21st trial date, police came to his house and arrested him. His grandparents told him to do his best, and be honest in the courtroom.
“My first reaction when I woke up was, ‘Oh shoot I overslept’,”
Deandre was one of six jurors in an automobile accident negligence case in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida in West Palm Beach.
Transcripts show Kastrenakes went off on him in court. Judge Kastrenakes said:
“You failed to come to court, we waited almost an hour for you to come to court; you didn’t
you were. God forbid you’d been in an accident or something terrible had happened. You shut your phone off”
Deandre said he did deserve to be punished but thought he instead deserved a fine.
Deandre already served his sentence and is appealing the misdemeanor judge against him. He said spending 10 days in jail was a traumatizing experience:
“It’s like I’m really in jail with cold, hard criminals,”
Deandre who was sent to jail, works part-time at the local park department. The public defender said in a court filling that Deandre helps care for his grandfather, who had a heart attack and uses a walker and a scooter to get around.
Deandre says the judge made him feel belittled.
His next court date is on Friday.