A 21-year-old Florida man who was locked up for 10 days for missing jury service had the rest of his sentence vacated and his record cleared Monday.
Originally, Deandre Somerville was looking at a year of probation and 150 hours of community service, in addition to the 10 days he spent in jail, after a judge found him in contempt of court last month for not showing up for jury service, CNN reports. Somerville said he overslept and then just headed to work instead of showing up to be a juror on a civil trial.
But on Monday, the Associated Press reports, after considering a letter of apology that Somerville wrote,
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes rescinded his contempt finding against 21-year-old Deandre Somerville, writing that Somerville has been apologetic, “totally rehabilitated” and no longer needs to be on probation [...]
“I know he now understands and respects our system of justice and the critical role jurors play in that system,” Kastrenakes wrote. “In conclusion, I do not want even a finding of contempt to be gleaned from a perusal of his background or record.”
In his letter, which Somerville read in court Friday, the young man said that he wouldn’t wish his experience on “his worst enemy.”
“As a result of my irresponsible actions, my life has been forever changed,” he said, AP reports. “Everything I’ve gone through. I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
In addition, he wrote, per CNN:
“This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom,” Somerville said, reading from his letter.
Somerville, who’d had no criminal record and was described by friends and family as someone who helped care for a grandparent and did volunteer work, spoke of the gravity of his situation.
“Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record,” Somerville said in court Friday, CNN reports. “I left a criminal in handcuffs.”