Florida juror jailed for oversleeping and missing trial

Deandre Somerville
Deandre Somerville has served his jail time

A Florida juror has been sentenced to 10 days in prison after he overslept and missed the start of a court case.

Deandre Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach, was chosen to serve on a jury in August.

But on the first day of the trial he overslept by at least two hours and failed to notify the court.

Judge John Kastrenakes held him in criminal contempt, also imposing 150 hours’ community service and a $223 (£180) fine as well as the jail term.

After serving his time in prison, Somerville is appealing against the sentence, arguing it was “excessive”.

“Now I have a record,” he told local media after a court appearance on Friday. “I almost feel like a criminal now. Now, I have to explain this in every interview.”

Somerville was to be one of six jurors, and it was his first time serving on a jury.

He told local media he slept though his alarm and woke up hours later, realising he had missed the start of the court session.

Somerville did not call the court to let them know, he said, because he felt nervous.

He said he also had to leave for his afternoon job at afterschool programmes for the city’s parks and recreation department.

He said he expected a fine, at worst.

Police arrived at Somerville’s home, where he lives with his grandparents and helps care for his grandfather, to issue a court summons.

He went to the hearing, later telling WPTV: “I said, ‘Sir, honestly I overslept and I didn’t understand the seriousness of this’.”

Somerville also told the court he had never been arrested or sent to jail.

But Judge Kastrenakes was not swayed.

“We waited almost an hour for you to come to court. You didn’t come,” the judge told him.

Somerville has also been ordered to write a “sincere” letter of apology of at least 100 words.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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