AKRON – The caption on LeBron James’ Twitter photo early Thursday read “Jury duty time, time to serve my civic duty.”
Although he plays basketball in Miami, LeBron is still legally a resident of Summit County, where he grew up. As such, he is subject to jury duty along with every other Summit County resident.
Lieutenant Kandy Featherlee of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office is commander of courthouse security and says she was given advance notice that LeBron was coming.
“When he came through the metal detector, we escorted him to the jury room. He signed in; he was placed in there with a book like the rest of the other 55 jurors,” said Featherlee.
LeBron came to the courthouse accompanied by a friend and an off-duty police officer, but neither were allowed to accompany him into the jury room.
“The officer and his friend are not permitted in the jury room, just like other family is not permitted; only the jurors. So once we got him here, they stayed outside. We took him in. He signed in. I introduced him to the jury foreman. We set him off to the side in the same room. He had a book, a newspaper; he sat there and read his book and a newspaper and that’s it,” said Featherlee.
Once in the jury room, he was permitted, however, to sit in the jury commissioner’s office where he read a book and a newspaper to pass time.
His presence did create a stir.
“As soon as he walked in the door, all the people that were in the jury room instantly recognized him and you could see the whispering and the smiles and the pointing,” said Featherlee.
LeBron and more than 50 other jury candidates could have been chosen for one of two cases.
One of them was in Judge Thomas Teodosoio’s court.
“The fact that he showed up without seeking to be excused, I think really honors that duty that all of us have as citizens to show up for jury service,” said Teodosio.
After the defendants did not show up on Thursday, LeBron and the other jury candidates were sent home.
“I thanked him just like I would thank any other juror for their service,” said Teodosio.
Just the chance to have LeBron serve on a jury became the buzz at the Summit County Courthouse, where attorney John Greven has tried numerous high profile cases, but has never had a high profile juror.
“As an attorney, I would love to have LeBron James on my jury, solely for the fact that I could tell people that I did a trial and LeBron James was on my jury,” said Greven, adding, “To be honest with you, I would ask him the same questions I would ask anybody else and it would totally depend on what his answers were.”
Around the courthouse, most people said they would not mind having LeBron James determining their fate.
“I would be so excited; I would probably just scream in the courtroom,” said Brandy Ross.
“He’s human, you know. He has a mind of his own, thoughts of his own, opinions of his own. I wouldn’t mind it, wouldn’t think it would be a bad thing,” said Shannon Spragling.
“It might be a little bit of a distraction, but the fact that he’s grown up here and is an adult now; he probably could make a good decision just like anybody,” said Mike Mims.