The Florida judge said he wanted to teach 21-year-old Deandre Somerville “a lesson” for oversleeping and missing jury duty. Judge John Kastrenakes of Palm Beach County sentenced Somerville to 10 days in jail, a year of probation, 150 hours of community service, $223 in court costs and ordered him to write a letter of apology to the court, reports the Washington Post. “After going through that, my life will never be the same again,” Somerville, who has no prior criminal history, said after upon release from the 10-day jail stint last week.
Kastrenakes has had a change of heart as Somerville’s case began generating nationwide backlash. On Friday, a remorseful Somerville appeared before Kastrenakes again to apologize while appealing his conviction for contempt of court. Kastrenakes agreed to reduce Somerville’s remaining sentence to three months of probation and 30 hours of community service. On Saturday, he decided to rescind the remainder of Somerville’s punishment and vacate his conviction for contempt as well. The punishment had already served its purpose, Kastrenakes noted, while appearing to acknowledge that the purpose was to make an example out of Somerville. The judge noted that, “Given the abundant publicity surrounding Mr. Somerville’s case, I have concluded that the importance and seriousness of a sworn juror abiding by the law has been made clear. Therefore, there exists no reason to continue Mr. Somerville on probation.”