Jury duty calls periodically and the same holds true for celebrities. Tom Hanks was asked to sit on the jury of a Los Angeles domestic assault case. Because of his stardom, it may have affected the outcome.
Defense attorney Andrew Flier stated the two-time Oscar winner was serving as a juror in the hearing since the commencement of the trial. The hearing began last week and the client was looking at up to a year in jail. The prosecuting attorney was ready to give his closing statements on Wednesday and yet, the hearing ended on Tuesday.
The prosecuting attorney stated that another lawyer in the L.A. City Attorney’s Office had spoken with Hanks when he was outside the courtroom. Hanks received a “thank you” from the attorney because of his jury service.
Because lawyers and jurors are not able to interact outside of the courtroom, Flier asked the judge for a mistrial under the prosecutorial misconduct law. Both lawyers in the case discussed the issue and settled on a smaller charge and fine for the defendant. The defendant received the reduced charge of disturbing the peace, along with a $150 fine.
The City Attorney’s Office spokesman, Frank Mateljan, did confirm that Hanks was approached by the attorney, who thanked him for his service. Mateljan added:
The city attorney has been appraised of the situation and will be reviewing it.
Flier claimed he had concerns about a celebrity serving on the jury might influence the jury’s decision.
I think because of his celebrity status and because of his personality, I think the jury would have followed him.
Flier decided after the jury selection process and hearing interviews with Hanks that he would make a good juror.
He never looked or made statements like he wanted to get off jury duty. So based on everything, he seemed like a very fair juror.
As with the appearance of any Hollywood celebrity, the usual photographers and fans gathered outside of the courthouse.
Everyone was taking photographs. He was smiling. He welcomed anybody. He looked at me like he always had, smiled and said, ‘I was going to vote the way of justice.’ So he never disclosed what that justice was headed for, the defense or the prosecution.
With celebrities in the jury box, do you think it will wreak havoc in the decision making process for our court system? Should celebrities be allowed to serve on jury?