Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bobby Powell, Jr. (D-West Palm Beach), SB 1590, aimed at reining in excessive punishments for tardy jurors, unanimously passed its first Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.
The bill seeks to amend current Florida statute to mirror federal codified law regarding sanctions for missing jury duty. If passed by the legislature, a juror is subject to any combination of the following sanctions: a fine not exceed $1,000, a term of imprisonment not to exceed 3 days, and an order to perform community service.
Juror Sanctions was filed in response to the 10-day imprisonment sentence imposed last year on Deandre Somerville, who was found in contempt of court for oversleeping, and missing his jury duty appearance. Somerville was also sentence to one year probation, 150 hours of community service, and $223 fine, even after apologizing to the court.
The bill is next headed to the Senate Rules Committee.