I attended an association strategy session today where we discussed membership and trends among various age groups. Naturally the ideas surrounding membership may be applied to jurors. According to the research group–Consensus Management Group of New York–generations vary significantly from pre-1945 persons up through the present.
It was shown that pre-1945 (born before 1945) persons are hopeful and are team players. They have respect for people, are dependable and honor rules. The 1945 to 1962 group, having been shaped by Kennedy and Martin Luther King (the Boomers) have a significant degree of self-interest and self-absorbed. They are optomstic and question authority. The Gen Xers–1963 to 1977–shaped by Vietnam and Michael Jackson are marketedly different. This group are non-competitive, self-indulgent and self-centered. Thy are not intimidated by authority are are loyal to relationships. The final group known as the Gen Y’s–after 1978–live for today. They avoid long term commitments, are informal, have little interest in politics, play hard, view skills over credentials and are tolerant.
So what does all of this mean? My take is that the persons sitting in a jury box may hold very different views from one another. Finding some common ground among all of these characteristics is important–if not essential–to educating the jury about the case. Older aged jurors may hold a defendant accountable for breaking rules where the younger jurors may be more forgiving and tolerant to mistakes.
This is about as good as information as a trial lawyer can take to a trial. With the limited knowledge we have about jurors before starting a trial–usually limited to age, address and occupation–having some reliable generalizations about your jurors may make the difference between winning and losing.