Serving on a jury is everyone’s civic duty to the United States’ judicial system. So what happens when celebrities get their notice to serve on a jury? Does it affect a trial’s outcome? You may believe it doesn’t, but if you’re Tom Hanks it most certainly does.
Recently actor Tom Hanks had to serve on a jury, and because he served there was an unexpected outcome to come of the case he was a part of.
No one is accusing Hanks of being impartial, but it was reported that a lawyer in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office approached Hanks and thanked him for his service outside of the court room after the verdict was read.
Jumping on this revelation, coupled with the reduced charge in the domestic dispute case, defense attorney Andrew Flier asked the court for a mistrial. Initially the defendant was offered a reduced charge of disturbing the peace and offered to pay a fine of $150.
Tom Hanks’ appearance on the jury had some concerns in the very beginning. According to attorney Andrew Flier, he had some doubts about the Oscar winner on the jury. Flier told CNN of his concerns:
“(B)ecause of his celebrity status and because of his personality, I think (the jury) would have followed him.”
We’ll never know whether or not he took on a leader position amongst the jury, but we do know that Hanks took his civic duty seriously. Flier continued to talk about how Hanks appeared in court, having said:
“He never looked or made any statements like he wanted to get off jury duty. So based on everything, he seemed like a very fair juror.”
It’s rare that you will see a celebrity selected for a jury, due to their popularity. Some people may see their presence in court as a distraction from the case, with paparazzi following them, or with other members of the jury looking to them for the answers. However that hasn’t stopped Hanks from serving, and he’s not the only one either. In 2004 Oprah Winfrey was selected to serve her civic duty, as was LeBron James.
According to the City Attorney’s Office, the city will be reviewing the incident that occurred outside of the courtroom between Hanks and the attorney.