Scientific Evidence in Jury Trials

I have noticed that scientific evidence introduced by the prosecution, which is countered by scientific proof provided by the defense, becomes a “wash” with the jury.  If there are competing scientific witnesses, the jury typically will disregard all the scientific evidence.  At that point, it adds little value to parade in more scientific experts than your opponent.  There is already reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind, and most jurors do not have a scientific mind that will further analyze the science.

This “hung jury” on the scientific evidence can occur even when there is overwhelming DNA evidence.  If the prosecution finds DNA samples at the scene of the crime, the defense can offer an alternative theory as to why the DNA was found.  For instance, the defense may argue that the DNA of the defendant was from a consensual sexual relationship.  Or the defense may have a scientist who shows that the DNA sample was contaminated.  It is a more difficult defense arguing that the police or a third party planted the defendant’s DNA sample, but it has been employed with success as in the OJ Simpson trial.

I have seen cases that attempt to match bite marks on the deceased’s breast with the defendant’s teeth fail as soon as the defense’s scientific expert shows that the bite marks do not match.  When jurors were questioned after the trial, they indicated that the scientific testimony regarding the bite marks was completely ignored in the deliberation room.  The jury reached their verdict based on something other than the science.

I was selected to sit on a medical malpractice trial before I attended law school, and I had the opportunity to see up front how a jury operates.  And each jury is different, but this jury completely ignored all the medical evidence provided during the lengthy trial.  The jurors did not understand it, so they dismissed it.  As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant offer some medical evidence to support their side, the jury will ignore all the medical evidence.

So how did this jury reach their decision?  Well, the foreman picked up a picture of the deceased that was taken about a week before he was seen by the physician and passed it around for everybody to see.  The plaintiff’s attorney had introduced the picture to enlist the sympathy of the jurors since the man looked sick and emaciated.  However, the foreman shook his head and announced, “Can’t you see?  The man was going to die no matter what the doctor did for him.  He was going to die anyway!”  And that’s how the jury made its decision for the defendant physician.

So what’s my point?  It’s simply that science will not convince the average person to believe in dark matter or dark energy or even a Creator.  The reason why the typical individual will believe in something is based on the emotion that carries the day.  This is why crowds are fickle.  One day, they may forgive your actions, but the next day, they may string you up.

The world is becoming more polarized, reducing the size of moderate, middle-of-the-road civilizations.  Extremists are always emotional non-thinkers.  That makes them very dangerous because you cannot reason with them.  And once the majority of world citizens are polarized into two major sides, both hating each other equally, and sometimes not knowing or caring why they hate each other.  Once the fire of hate starts feeding on that emotion, all rational thoughts will go up in smoke and the only thing that will matter will be to continue feeding the fire.  At that point, the only government that can control the emotional chaos in the world will be a totalitarian government.

A thinking person might wonder if this were the plan from day one of a small group of conspirators who created the polarized planet for a totalitarian world controlled by them.  Members of this group who want to take over the world may have sat in jury rooms themselves or perhaps they just understand human nature, which is to ignore science and reason if there is any conflict and rely on emotion to make decisions.