Barack Obama, juror

The former President has been summoned for jury duty. I wonder how many people will now be trying to not escape jury duty?

My guess is he won’t be selected because he’d be a distraction.

Is he actually allowed to be on an Illinois jury? How is he still a qualifying resident if, even though he completed his federal service in January, he doesn’t actually reside there?

Presidents still reside in the state from which they were elected. If Obama still owns property in Illinois, but remained in DC after the end of his second term, for some reason like wanting his younger daughter to finish school in the school she had been going to for eight years, he could still be a resident. My mother lived six months in NY and six months in Maine each year for almost 20 years, but was a resident of only NY, never Maine, the whole time. Her car was registered in NY, she was licensed to drive there, she voted there, sometimes by absentee, and she had an apartment there, so there was a physical address. She paid state taxes only in NY, never in Maine.

There are soldiers who are hardly ever in the state where they are a resident, but they always have a state of record, for voting. They may not have an address, if they have no family, but they have a state. If they do have family, any at all, who will allow them to use their address, their state of residence may be their relative’s state, but other than that, it will be the state where they resided when they enlisted.

Oh, and he will most likely be dismissed for cause. Any time anyone with any kind of celebrity is in a jury pool, they can be dismissed for cause, because they can have “undue influence” on other jurors.

Heck, even if we ignore the celebrity and ex-president parts of his resume, not too many retired law professors serve on juries either. Neither do many sitting judges nor practicing attorneys.

Legal expertise is not something anyone really wants on a jury. It gets in the way of the case presentation and tends to leave that one juror very unequal versus the others. Which is not the idea behind juries at all.

I was wondering how happy his Secret Service detail would be, having to sit in the audience some fifteen feet away.

George W. Bush was summoned for jury duty and attended the selection hearing in 2015, but was not picked.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was selected for jury duty in 2005 and served as the jury’s foreman.

Also, Bill Clinton, who got as far as filling out the questionnaire for jury duty in 2003.

Al Gore got as far as screening, but was dismissed due to schedule conflicts.

Would it be a snub if a former Prez was not anointed Jury Foreman?

I was talking with an engineer I knew about jury duty and she said she noticed on a case she got tapped for, both the plaintiff and defense attorneys seemed to be aiming for people who were at best, average – except her. After the verdict* she was talking with the plaintiff’s attorney about why she was allowed on the jury without a challenge. The guy shrugged, “Somebody’s got to be foreman.”

  • I don’t remember which way it went.

On the juries I’ve been on, it seemed the professional people weren’t keen on taking a leadership position. What’s in it for them? Jury duty was a quiet day or two away from the responsibilities of work.

Anyway, jury foreman isn’t exactly an onerous responsibility, it just means collecting the decisions and giving them to the judge. On one jury I got acclaimed foreman just for asking how we would choose a foreman.

It’s nice he did his civic duty and showed up, but of course he will not serve on a jury. Frankly, it’d just be a giant pain in the ass.

When I was on a jury we acclaimed someone foreman because he was the only one that had been on a jury before.

Not many lawyers want to plead a case before a constitutional law professor in the jury.