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State Sen. Wants Fla. Judge Probed for Jury Duty Jailing

A Florida state senator is calling for an investigation of a judge who sentenced a 21-year-old black man to 10 days in jail for missing jury duty, The Palm Beach Post repoed Wednesday.

State Sen. Bobby Powell Jr., a Democrat who represents pas of West Palm Beach, filed a complaint to a Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission asking Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes be investigated for jailing Deandre Somerville, who overslept jury duty, according to the repo.

“I was floored,” Powell told the Post. “My hea . . . I could not believe what I was looking at.

“I was disgusted by what I saw.”

The FJQC is probes judicial misconduct of Florida state judges.

The judge “acted in an unprecedented manner to unfairly punish one individual for a minor transgression,” according to Powell’s complaint, the Post repoed.

Kastrenakes vacated the jail sentence and kept a three-month probation for Somerville, who was the only black juror on the panel, amid public scrutiny.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., also rebuked Kastrenakes’ actions.

“Deandre Somerville is a hard-working young man who was almost going to have to check the criminal record box on future job apps because he overslept & missed jury duty,” she tweeted. “Who’s going to check Judge John Kastrenakes for his monstrous misuse of authority?”


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