Shemar Moore's not about to mess with a dude like El Chapo ... which is why he'd rather sit behind bars for a while than be a juror on the drug lord's criminal case.
The "Criminal Minds" and "S.W.A.T." star was at LAX Saturday when we asked him about jury duty, specifically about the concern for the jurors' safety in the El Chapo trial.
Moore makes it clear -- El Chapo's a scary man and thinks anyone connected to the former Cartel leader should be afraid ... despite what his lawyers say.
For that reason, Shemar says he'd take whatever punishment comes with skipping El Chapo jury duty ... because it's better than the alternative.
Side question -- how's Shemar avoided regular jury duty so far in his life?