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He Got 10 Days in Jail for Missed Jury Duty. Now, Redemption

Florida judge wipes any criminality from record of 21-year-old Deandre Somerville
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2019 8:00 AM CDT
Deandre Somerville, 21, poses for a portrait on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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(Newser) – Deandre Somerville doesn't think he should've gotten 10 days in jail and a record for oversleeping and missing jury duty. Many agreed, and the resulting backlash over his Florida case may have led to a judicial retraction. Somerville, 21, has already served his jail time after sleeping late on Aug. 21 and failing to call the court, but he still had a year of probation, a fine, and community service to put in—until Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes wiped that all off of Somerville's to-do list over the weekend, as well as scrubbed his record of criminality, per CBS News. "I know he now understands and respects our system of justice and the critical role jurors play in that system," Kastrenakes wrote in his new ruling nullifying Somerville's contempt charge, per CBS12. "I do not want even a finding of contempt to be gleaned from a perusal of his background or record."

Kastrenakes isn't exactly admitting he was in the wrong for the sentence, or that controversy pressured him to backtrack, though he does acknowledge the "abundant publicity." The judge just feels, after hearing Somerville read a "sincere, moving, and heartfelt" letter of apology in court Friday, that the young man is "totally rehabilitated." "I firmly believe that Deandre Somerville is the type of person who can achieve anything he wants in this world," Kastrenakes wrote, adding, per the New York Times: "He is a thoughtful ... young man. He cares deeply about his family." In a text to the Sun Sentinel, Somerville said he'd have a statement soon, but that "I'm happy my charges were dropped n that there is a god and he is real thank you." A different judge tells CBS12 the missing juror issue continues in Palm Beach County, with only about 30% of jurors showing up. (Read more jury duty stories.)

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