Worldviews In The Jury Room

(c)iStockphoto.com/3pod

Yesterday I was in a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) course. CLE is how lawyers keep their skills honed and keep up on this latest changes in the law. Today was a day long mock trial conducted by some of the best trial lawyers in the country, complete with a jury who deliberated at the end of the day in the adjacent room while I and 200 trial lawyers watched via live video.

While the jury ultimately reached the right verdict (juries usually do), how they got there was a bit surprising to me. From the beginning I saw the jury divide in their deliberations according to worldview.

The conservative jurors were obvious and their remarks quickly revealed their inherent trust of companies and distrust of plaintiffs and lawsuits. On the other side were the liberal jurors, who have an inherent distrust for corporations and tend to side with individuals in such disputes. They all heard the same evidence, but they interpreted it very differently, not because of the quality of the evidence but the prism of their worldview.

This shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ve been picking juries for twenty years and have always conducted voir dire based on this assumption. I guess what surprised me was how blatant and conspicuous it was.

Now, here’s where I’m going with all this. There was an objective truth about the evidence, but that truth was distorted by the opposing worldviews through which the jurors viewed it. The key in reaching a true verdict was as much about having the correct worldview as it was about reason. Truth was as much about how they saw as what they saw.

In this respect, what’s true of juries is true of life in general. That’s why I write so much about worldview. If Christians want to see things the way they really are, they don’t need a conservative worldview or a liberal worldview but a Kingdom worldview. That worldview comes first from being obedient to Jesus, which enables one to have the proper worldview, to know Truth. (John 8:32-22).

If you can do that, you are ready to serve on a jury and in life. GS