Jail for Missing Jury Duty


Brynn Anderson / AP

Deandre Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach poses for a portrait, in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Oct. 3, 2019.

Raquel Perry, Reporter

21-year-old, Deandre Somerville of West Palm Beach, who was previously sentenced to 10 days in jail for missing jury duty, had his sentence relinquished after a judge said the Florida man had been “totally rehabilitated.”

In August, Somerville received a summons for jury duty for the first time. On August 20th, 2019 , he was selected to be a juror for a civil negligence case involving a car accident and ordered to come back at 9 am the next day to report for the trial. On August 21st, Somerville missed the start of the trial because he had overslept and failed to notify the court or jury office.

In September, Palm Beach County Judge John Kastrenakes ruled that the 21-year-old was to stay in jail for 10 days, as well as complete 150 hours of community service, a year of probation, and pay a $223 fine. Somerville was also ordered to write a “sincere” statement of apology.

“I should have called,” Somerville told NBC News on Friday. “But I was kind of nervous. I also went online to look up what could really happen, and I didn’t really see too much there. … [It looked like] nobody actually ever really went to jail for it.”

But on October 5th, Judge John Kastrenakes revoked the ruling and vacated the sentence after there was widespread backlash to the sentence. Judge Kastrenakes said that he also “extremely impressed” with the young man’s family support and statement of apology.

“The apology letter read by Mr. Somerville was moving, sincere, and heartfelt,” Kastrenakes said in his order, which was released Monday. “I know he has been totally rehabilitated.”

Somerville read his letter of apology at his hearing the previous Friday. “I know I may have to live with a record that follows me for the rest of my life,” he stated. “This was definitely a learning experience and a wake-up call for me… I’m determined to not let this define who I am and what my future will be.”

Although the ruling was rescinded, Judge Kastrenakes’ actions did not end attention to the case. The original ruling prompted critics to protest, claiming that the sentence was unfair, especially since Somerville has no record of arrests or criminal convictions.

“Moreover, I firmly believe that Deandre Somerville is the type of person who achieves anything he wants in this world,” Judge Kastrenakes wrote. “He is a thoughtful and respectful man… I know he now understands and respects our system of justice and the critical role jurors play in that system.”