21-Year-Old Florida Man Gets 10-Day Sentence in Jail After He Overslept and Missed Jury Duty

Court records show Deandre Somerville was sentenced to 10 days in jail and one year of probation for missing jury duty.
Credit: WPTV

He got picked for jury duty in a civil trial, but when Deandre Somerville overslept, it became a criminal matter — for him.

Mr. Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was ruled in direct criminal contempt of court last month by a circuit court judge, who sentenced him to 10 days in jail and one year of probation for missing jury duty, court records showed.

The judge, John S. Kastrenakes, also ordered Mr. Somerville to perform 150 hours of community service, pay a $223 fine and write a “sincere” letter of apology of at least 100 words after he missed an Aug. 21 trial date.

Mr. Somerville, who already served his jail sentence, is appealing the misdemeanor judgment against him. His next court date is Friday. “My first reaction when I woke up was, ‘Oh shoot, I overslept,’” Mr. Somerville said Thursday, adding that he should have notified the court, but that he had been nervous about the repercussions.

“That should have been the first thing I should have done,” he said. “I thought maybe the most I could get was a fine.”

Not long after missing jury duty, he said, the police showed up at his grandparents’ home, which is where Mr. Somerville lives.

He said his grandparents told him, “The best thing you can do is be honest.”

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Neil Vigdor