الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

The trials of the celebrity juror

George W Bush with another juror who reported for duty

“Look who I just met doing Jury Duty! #POTUS” Desiree Bryant tweeted

Former President George W Bush appeared for jury duty at a Dallas courthouse on Wednesday, prompting excitement amongst fellow jurors.

As it turned out, he was not actually selected for duty but this did not a stop a flurry of selfies before he was spirited away from the building by secret service agents.

“I turned around and he was seated right behind me and I said, “I think I know that guy,” fellow juror Joel Ehambe said.

This is not the first time a former president has been called for duty – in 2003 Bill Clinton was a prospective juror in a gang shooting case in New York.

However, he was excluded by the judge, who said his secret service retinue could “undermine our efforts to keep the case focused quietly on the evidence”.

The Dallas Morning News quotes Judge Eric Moye as insisting Mr Bush’s profile was not the reason he was not called for duty.

“He was number 27 of a 35 member panel and we only got through number 23,” he said.

Never mind former presidents – even actors have to turn up when summoned.

Celebrity gossip site TMZ even has a special “Reporting for Duty” page where you can keep track of famous faces going to court (but on the right side of the dock).


A “star-struck” member of the prosecution approached Tom Hanks when he was on jury duty – in a clear breach of the rules

Often those who appear for jury duty in the first instance are not actually selected to serve on a trial.

But one exception was Tom Hanks, whose being on a jury had an unexpected effect on the outcome of a domestic assault case.

A lawyer for the prosecution admitted approaching Hanks outside the courtroom to thank him for his service. The defence duly asked for a mistrial, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

Lawyers then reached a settlement on a reduced charge, perhaps giving weight to the argument that celebrity jurors can be a distraction.


Oprah Winfrey called her jury experience “a huge reality check”

But celebrities don’t always hold up the wheels of justice. The jury that Oprah Winfrey sat on in a 2004 murder trial managed to reach a verdict with no mishaps – and, of course, she invited some of her fellow jurors on to the show.

However, she did herself point out that inevitable media attention had been something of a distraction: “This is not good for the victim’s family. This is not about Oprah Winfrey, the fact is a man has been murdered.”

Not famous enough?


Carl Fletcher said he was worried his fame might led to repercussions if defendants recognised him – the judge disagreed

But if anyone reading has a public profile and think they might plead celebrity if the summons ever arrives, take note of the case of British footballer Carl Fletcher.

He reportedly tried to argue he was too well-known in the area when called for jury service in Plymouth, and that it would prevent him attending matches.

Judge Francis Gilbert was not convinced.

“Captaining Plymouth Argyle is not sufficient reason for not doing jury service. Employers are required to give you time off for jury service as a matter of law,” he said.

“So far, what you’ve said is not sufficient. Lots of well-known people, some more famous than you, have been required to sit on juries.”

Ouch.

شاهد أيضاً

COPTIC SOLIDARITY LAUNCHES URGENT CALL TO END CRIME OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF COPTIC WOMEN IN EGYPT

A Coptic woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, …