Ex-President Barack Obama dismissed from jury duty

Don Babwin
Associated Press

Chicago — Former President Barack Obama has been dismissed from jury duty.

The former president arrived at the Richard J. Daley Center in downtown Chicago for jury duty shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday. By noon, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans was telling reporters that Obama won’t be serving.

Obama’s appearance at the courthouse created quite a stir. He was photographed outside by people who heard on the news that Obama would be coming to court. In the courthouse lobby, people craned their necks for a glimpse of Obama and took cellphone pictures of him.

Evans said the former president shook hands with other would-be jurors inside the jury assembly room and signed copies of his books that some had taken with them to court.

Obama is the highest-ranking former public official to be called to jury duty in Chicago, and almost certainly the only one who ever arrived with a Secret Service detail. But he is not the first former president to be called to jury duty. In 2015, former President George W. Bush answered the jury duty call in Dallas. He was not selected to sit on a jury. And in 2003, former President Bill Clinton reported for jury duty in federal court in New York City. He also was not selected.

Nor is he the first famous Chicagoan to be called to jury duty. In 2004, Oprah Winfrey was on a Chicago jury that convicted a man of murder. A decade later, Lawrence Tureaud, better known as Mr. T, showed up to a suburban Chicago courthouse for jury duty, sporting his usual Mohawk, but without the gold chains for which he is known. But despite the more subdued outfit, Mr. T was not chosen to sit on a jury.