How Passion Primes the Case for Christianity
by J Warner Wallace
As a cold-case detective and part of a three generation law enforcement family, I’ve got a secret I’d like to share with you: the majority of criminal (and civil) cases are won or lost well before the opening statements or closing arguments. Most cases are decided at jury selection. You can have a great case but lose miserably if you don’t have the right jury. That’s why prosecutors and defense attorneys specialize (or hire specialists) in jury selection. Both sides are looking for jurors who aren’t biased against some important aspect of their case; better yet, each side wants a jury inclined to agree with their position, even before they start the trial. A lot of effort is expended trying to figure out which twelve people (from the larger jury pool) should be selected. Case makers use surveys and questionnaires to ask important questions of each juror as they try their best to sort through the candidates. No one wants to present a criminal case to a group that hasn’t been carefully screened, questioned and examined. If case makers fail to assemble the right jury, their efforts to articulate and argue the case will be meaningless.
As the case agent and investigating detective in many high profile criminal trials, I’ve learned to look for three things in every juror, and these are the same attributes I seek in those with whom I share the case for Christianity: I’m looking for people who are passionate about the issues, open to hearing the case and humble enough not to let their ego get in the way. Today I’d like to talk about the first important attribute: passion.
Some potential jurors arrive for jury duty with great reluctance. They view jury duty as an inconvenience and a burden. They appear disinterested and disgruntled. As the investigating detective, I’ve typically spent several years preparing the case for trial; the last thing I want at this critical juncture is a disinterested jury. Instead, I’m hoping for twelve men and women who see their jury service as a privilege and noble duty. I want people on my panel who are excited to uncover the truth, glad to be there, and appreciative of their opportunity. Apathy is extremely dangerous on a jury panel. I want jurors who “get it”; jurors who understand what’s at stake and the importance of their decision. I’m looking for passionate jurors.
As a Christian case maker, I’ve come to recognize the importance of jury selection. I became a Christian at the age of thirty-five. I was an obstinate atheist prior to that, but after a careful investigation…
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