Deandre Somerville is a 21-year-old that completed a sentence of ten days in jail for the notorious crime of missing jury duty.
On August 21, Somerville reportedly overslept and missed his jury duty assignment. His consequence for his absence was originally ten days in jail, one year of probation, and 150 hours of community service.
After first being reduced to 30 hours of community service, Judge John Kastrenakes eventually vacated Somerville’s probation and agreed to strike his charge from his personal record, believing he was fully rehabilitated.
Fox News reported on the judge’s reflection on the situation.
“Given the abundant publicity surrounding Mr. Somerville’s case, I have concluded that the importance of a sworn juror abiding by the law has been made clear,” Kastrenakes wrote in his order. “Therefore, there exists no reason to continue Mr. Somerville on probation.”
He added: “I know he now understands and respects our system of justice and the critical role jurors play in that system. In conclusion, I do not want even a finding of contempt to be gleaned from a perusal of his background or record.”
The judge said Somerville “has been totally rehabilitated” and isn’t the same person “who refused to come to court and intentionally violated his oath as a sworn juror.” He insisted he wasn’t singling Somerville out, and that he “would have punished anyone who behaved the way Mr. Somerville behaved in the same manner.”
Somerville, who had no previous criminal record, said what he did “was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom.”
“As a result of my irresponsible actions, my life has been forever changed,” the 21-year-old read from an apology letter Friday. “Everything I’ve gone through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
Jury Duty is often avoided by many Americans, but given it is our only constitutional duty and the alternative is to allow the government to dictate the innocence and guilt of the people they are prosecuting, it is more important than it is inconvenient.
Should you go to jail for missing jury duty?