Mel Gibson has returned to criminal court today ... but this time he'll be the one passing judgment ... as a prospective juror!!!
A TMZ producer ran into Mel outside the jury assembly room. He's in the hallway reading a script, occasionally jumping on the cell phone talking business.
Mel was also chatting up some of the women in the hallway and even took some photos with them.
Mel is wearing a baseball cap, a dark sport coat, button-up shirt and jeans.
Mel is not being treated differently ... he's doing what all prospective jurors do -- wait.