A 21-year-old man was jailed for 10 days after he overslept and missed his jury duty.
Deandre Somerville, from West Palm Beach, Florida, had been picked to serve as a juror on a civil case and was due to arrive in court at 9am the next day.
He then woke up after 11am by accident and, realising that it was nearly time for his afternoon job, he didn’t bother to contact anyone at the court.
Somerville, who works for the West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Department’s after-schools programme, said he expected to pay a fine for not showing up.
What he didn’t realize, was his failure to arrive had delayed the court by 45 minutes.
Somerville was then out playing basketball when his grandparents, who he lives with, contacted him to say a police officer had come to their house with a court summons.
He decided to go into court and ‘be honest’, adding: ‘I’ve never had a criminal background, never been arrested, never been in handcuffs. ‘The most I’ve ever gotten was a traffic ticket so I was thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.’
In court, Judge John Kastrenakes found Somerville in direct contempt of court,as he didn’t make contact to explain his absence.
The judge sentenced him to 10 days in jail, 150 hours of community service and a year of probation. He was also ordered to write an apology of at least 100 words and pay $233 (roughly £190) in fees.
Somerville, an aspiring firefighter, spent the next 10 days in jail, describing the experience as ‘scary’, but saying he prayed and wrote in his notebook everyday.
He has now been released and has appealed his sentence, arguing that he walked into the courtroom ‘a free man with no criminal record’, before leaving ‘a criminal in handcuffs’.
His friends and family have vouched for his character, citing how he looks after his disabled grandfather, who cannot walk, and volunteers in the community.
Reading from his letter of apology, Somerville said: ‘This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom.’