​Too Famous for Jury Duty?

Ah, to be a lead actor in Hollywood. Swimming pools. Movie stars. And no jury duty?

That’s apparently the case if you’re leading man Brad Pitt, who reportedly was dismissed from serving on a Los Angeles Criminal Court jury recently. According to media accounts, the big screen star was waiting for his number to be called when he was quietly approached by court officials and told that his civil service wasn’t needed based on the notion that his presence would be “too distracting.”

Seriously? Too famous for jury duty? Is that a thing? 

Although Dallas billionaire and international TV star Mark Cuban told reporters he’s previously been dismissed from jury duty for the same reason, he still was selected to sit on a Dallas civil jury in November and helped decide a personal injury claim in which the plaintiff was awarded no damages.

Giving a free pass to Pitt, Cuban or any famous person is a bad idea if for nothing more than implying that they are somehow immune from the same civic duty that other potential jurors are there to perform. If lawyers believe their client can’t get a fair case with a celebrity sitting on the jury, then they can strike them from the panel. When courts preemptively make that decision for them, it only lessens the public’s view of our justice system.

Posted: 3/10/2015 9:48:57 AM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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