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EmpressPixie's avatar

They can get called for jury duty, but they probably never make it to the jury because even if they did come in for selection, both sides wouldn’t want them there—it would distract from the case and run the serious risk of having other jurors side with or against whatever direction the celeb seems to be leaning based purely on their celebrity.

Though, it also seems likely that if they were called, they’d probably send in a note to get excused. For many, they’d have to travel from filming or being on tour or whatever they do to make the jury selection where, as mentioned before, they’d never get picked.

Judge4123's avatar

Yes they have to just like any other person. But it may get destracting.

shilolo's avatar

Sure, I’ve served on a jury before. ;-P

Zaku's avatar

@shilolo – Did the jury find itself drawn to agree with you do your celebrity status?

blastfamy's avatar

Oprah Winfrey appeared for jury duty… she made a big spectacle about it – I’m pretty sure that she was trying to make the civic responsibility statement. Pretty cool of her, if you ask me…

Darwin's avatar

Apparently Mr. T recently had jury duty in Chicago, but wasn’t selected for the panel. And J. Lo also had jury duty recently, in Beverley Hills, but did not serve because the case settled before a jury could be empaneled.

When Woody Allen was called for jury duty he gave the judge a rant about how he doesn’t believe in lawyers (probably sounding just like one of his characters in his movies) and rather obviously was not selected. Madonna had jury duty last year but wasn’t picked for the jury in a DUI case, and Steve Carell had jury duty in a civil trial last year. From what I understand, the LA County Courthouse has photos of past celebrity jurors up on the walls for current jurors to look at as they sit and wait (and wait and wait).

Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were both called for jury duty in their home counties while serving as President but were granted a deferral (Reagan) or excused (Bush). Conceivably, either could be considered exempt because they are rather important to the business of leading the USA.

However, W. was called for jury duty when Governor of Texas and came to serve. He was excused from the drunk-driving case when his then-general counsel, Alberto Gonzales, argued that the governor’s power to pardon posed a conflict.

A lot of times celebrities are excused by the judge or dismissed by one of the attorneys because they might be a distraction to other jurors or in the courtroom. Former President Bill Clinton was willing to serve on a case involving a gang-related shooting when he was called in 2003 but the judge dismissed him (I suppose the extra Secret Service guys were also a distraction).

But sometimes they serve just as any other eligible American citizen. Former federal prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani served as jury foreman on a $7 million personal-injury case while he was mayor of New York in 1999, and Senator John Kerry (and former Middlesex County prosecutor) served as the jury foreman on a two-day personal- injury trial in Massachusetts back in 2005.

So yes, celebrities, if they are American citizens and otherwise eligible to serve, are called for jury duty. However, celebrities with valid excuses can be exempted. Chronic illness can be an exemption so “Magic” Johnson and Greg Louganis perhaps could be exempt because they are both HIV-positive. Being older than 70 is another exemption so Raquel Welch is out if she wants to be. And at least in California, anyone convicted of a felony cannot serve so Robert Downey Jr. and Eminem would be exempt there. Phil Spector would too, but I think he is going to be busy for a while, due to his recent conviction for second-degree murder.

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