Tom Hanks - Tom Hanks: 'I Was Right To Do Jury Duty'
Tom Hanks has defended his decision to sit for jury duty in the U.S. even though his fame brought about the premature end to a case.
The Forrest Gump star spent a day on jury service in Los Angeles earlier this month (Sep13) but officials were then forced to offer the defendant a plea bargain after a lawyer made inappropriate contact with Hanks during a break in the hearing.
However, the Oscar-winning actor is adamant he was right to carry out his "civic duty" and questions the "entire judicial system" for allowing an innocent conversation to torpedo a case.
Hanks tells British magazine Event, "I don't know how it works in the U.K. but here you are sitting around and then one day you get a summons in the mail to appear for jury duty... You can ask to be excused... but you cannot lie and you have to have very specific reasons why you need to be excused.
"And if you don't have them... then what you really need to do is show up. And it just so happens that other than cancelling some really important interviews for the worldwide media, I had no reason not to show up for jury duty - so down I went."
Hanks says he was enjoying a lunch break on the day of the case when he was approached by a lawyer: "Somebody was eating lunch and said to me, 'Hello, thanks for coming down, most people try to get out of jury duty.' And I said, 'I know, but I'm just doing my civic duty.' But nobody is supposed to talk to the jury, I believe.
"It was a very informal, seven-second interchange during lunch. But justice was either served or the entire judicial system was discovered to have a fault in it because of where I chose to eat my lunch that day. But you know, I did my duty."