21-year-old DeAndre Somerville, who spent 10 days in a Florida jail after oversleeping and missing jury duty, has had his sentence vacated after a judge said that he had been “totally rehabilitated.”
Somerville of West Palm Beach, was originally sentenced to 10 days in jail, a year of probation, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of at least 100 words and $233 in fees, according to court records. Somerville was chosen as a juror back in August, for a civil trial in Florida. Court officials said Somerville’s absence set the docket back 45 minutes.
Somerville’s story sparked outrage on social media being that he did not have a criminal record, and the punishment didn’t seem fitting for the crime, with many people saying that Judge John Kastrenakes was abusing his power.
Kastrenakes found Somerville in contempt of court last month after he missed the civil trial and didn’t call the court to explain what happened. Then, Kastrenakes released an order that he sentenced Somerville to probation as a lesson to others to take serving on a jury more seriously.
But, Kastrenakes has now had a change of heart and has vacated the contempt finding and rescinded the sentence of probation.
“Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record,” Somerville said in court on Friday, according to CNN. “I left a criminal in handcuffs.”
Somerville read his apology letter to the judge, saying, “This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom.”
Kastrenakes said that he was “extremely impressed” with the young man’s family support and change in character. “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,” he added.
In an interview with WPTV, Somerville said Tuesday, “I’m just glad that he did have a change of heart, and he really knows the real me, and he sees that I’m not a bad kid. I’m just someone who made a bad mistake.”