DALLAS (TIP): Being summoned for jury duty at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building in downtown Dallas was anything but dull for Sheri Coleman. In fact, Coleman and other jurors were in for quite the surprise Wednesday morning when former President George W. Bush also showed up for jury duty at Judge Eric Moye’s 14th civil district court.
“They made it seem like it was an anonymous juror that never showed up and then they brought him in,” she said. Coleman, of Dallas, said the president’s visit was “awesome” and “surprising.”
“He was very personable, very friendly, just, ‘Hey, I’m here to serve.’ He asked questions and was very nice,” she said. “I loved it.” Bush spokesman Freddy Ford confirmed the 43rd president was summoned as Juror 27 and was at the courthouse for about three hours.
Secret Service agents could be seen outside Moye’s courtroom on the fifth floor of the courthouse. “It would be great if everyone took their jury service the same way [Bush] did,” Moye said. “He understood it was important, he took it in good nature and he was engaged and talked to the lawyers.”
Moye said Bush wasn’t selected as a juror simply because the positions had already been filled. “He was number 27 of a 35-member panel and we only got through number 23,” he said.
Moye said he hopes future potential jurors will follow Bush’s lead of showing up for jury duty. “One of the remarks I made to the jury was ‘All of you have some reason why you have to do something else,'” he said. “‘But … you have the former president who has given his time to be here, so think how good your excuses for getting out of here really are.'”
Moye said Bush was “incredibly gracious” to all of the court staff and took photos with the bailiffs, clerks and summer interns. “He made sure it was a wonderful experience,” he said. The case Bush would have heard was a breach of contract matter between the owner of a mobile home park and a former resident, Moye said.
Wednesday’s summons was not the first time Bush has been called for jury duty. In 1996, while serving as governor, he was called for jury duty in Austin but was later dismissed by the defense attorney. About a decade later, while serving as president, Bush was among 600 potential jury candidates in McLennan County, where he owns a ranch.
Bush had a scheduling conflict and was unable to attend, a White House spokesman said at the time.