Black people can’t catch a break.
Deandre Somerville, a young black man was sentenced to 10 days in jail for missing jury duty. Deandre, who had no prior criminal record, says he overslept and wound up missing the first day of a three-day trial, so he decided to go to work instead. Apparently, he underestimated the severity of his actions, as well as underestimating the pettiness of the judge.
Because he never showed up and never gave a notice, Deandre was served papers to appear in court before the judge to explain his actions. It was then that Deandre knew how much in trouble he was.
The Washington Post writes that the judge, John S. Kastrenakes, sentenced the 21-year-old to 10 days in jail, a year of probation, 150 hours of community service, $223 fine, and made the young man write an apology to the court.
A black man spends 10 days in jail for missing his first day of jury duty. That’s some M. Night Shyamalan twist ending racism. pic.twitter.com/fVtUuZk5sh
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 8, 2019
However, after backlash sparked, it motivated the judge to reconsider his overly-harsh punishment.
10 days. He’s spending the same amount of time in jail that parents who committed college bribery are spending. Why? Because he’s black. https://t.co/WKHzFgiuej
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) October 6, 2019
Kastrenakes decided to overturn Deandre’s criminal record and remaining sentencing.
“The only reason the Court left him on a short term of probation was so that others could learn and take heed that serving on a jury is serious business deserving of attention, respect, and adherence to their oaths. 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.”
Kastrekakes says race had nothing to do with his decision, and that he would have treated anyone, regardless of skin color, the same way.