Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Ugly defendants 'more likely to be found guilty than attractive ones'
thisislondon.co.uk ^ | 21.03.07 | Staff

Posted on 03/22/2007 9:04:23 AM PDT by null and void

Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said.

They reported that in an experiment jurors were more likely to convict suspects deemed ugly than those seen as attractive.

It is thought that the principle applies elsewhere in life, with beauty being associated with kindness, intelligence and sporting ability.

The researchers at Bath Spa University came to their conclusions after asking 96 volunteers to read a transcript of a fictitious mugging case.

Half of the participants were given a picture of an attractive suspect, the others one of a supposedly ugly defendant. The script was the same in either case.

The volunteer 'jurors' were then asked to decide whether the suspect was innocent or guilty. In the latter case they also had to decide on a sentence.

Analysis of the results revealed that attractive suspects were more likely to be acquitted, despite there being no extra evidence in their favour.

Sandie Taylor, the psychologist who conducted the study, said: "We set out to consider the influence of physical attractiveness and ethnicity of a defendant depicted in a photograph on mock jurors' decisions of verdict, extent of guilt and sentencing.

"Our findings confirm previous research on the effects of defendant characteristics - such as physical attractiveness - on the deliberations of jurors.

"Attractive defendants are, it seems, rated less harshly than homely defendants, so perhaps justice isn't blind after all.

"People who are physically attractive are assumed to be clever, successful and have more friends - it is tragic in a way."

Dr Taylor said Ted Bundy, who murdered more than 30 young women in the U.S. in the 1970s, was a good example of a criminal who tried to use his looks to his advantage.

"He was quite an attractive person physically and he had the gift of the gab and that is how he lured his victims into his car and killed them in the end," she said.

"He wanted to represent himself in court and I think a few people might have been duped by his character and how he came across.

"The hard-core forensic evidence was against him, but if that forensic evidence hadn't been there, he might well have got off, because he was quite charming and knew how to work people."

The study showed that while the jurors were swayed by attractiveness, they did not let race cloud their judgment. Black and white suspects were treated equally. When black suspects were convicted, however, they were given longer sentences.

"It is interesting that being an unattractive black defendant only had an impact on sentencing and not on a juror's verdict of guilt," Dr Taylor told the British Psychological Society's annual conference in York.

"However, it is a positive finding that neither black nor white participants showed a bias towards their own ethnic group."

She pointed out that in British law sentences are decided by judges rather than juries.

Previous research by Dr Taylor showed that gender can also be important in the courts.

Women jurors treat female suspects more harshly, especially when they think they might have used their looks to their advantage.

Men, on the other hand, tend to give attractive women the benefit of the doubt.

The phenomenon, known as the 'halo effect', is thought to extend far beyond the courtroom, with looks affecting an individual's exam marks, job prospects and even ability to make friends.

"People are constantly making judgments of other people," added Dr Taylor. "That is the way we make sense of a socially chaotic world - we use stereotypes to try to make sense of it all."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-71 next last
Hillary!™ - Guilty...
1 posted on 03/22/2007 9:04:26 AM PDT by null and void
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: null and void

They needed a study to figure that out?


2 posted on 03/22/2007 9:05:34 AM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Championship U)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

They have figured out the way it works with teachers!


3 posted on 03/22/2007 9:05:49 AM PDT by JRios1968 (Tagline wanted...inquire within)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: No, we didn't... no.
WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
BEDEMIR: Well?
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEMIR: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat -- but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no... no ... yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.


4 posted on 03/22/2007 9:07:19 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Your in real trouble if you're fugly.


5 posted on 03/22/2007 9:07:41 AM PDT by pissant (http://www.gohunter08.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Political Junkie Too

Ping.


6 posted on 03/22/2007 9:09:06 AM PDT by null and void (To Marines, male bonding happens in Boot Camp, to Democrats, it happens at a Gay Pride parade...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

7 posted on 03/22/2007 9:09:08 AM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (I buy gas for my Hummer with the Carbon Offsets I sell on Ebay!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: K4Harty

LOL


8 posted on 03/22/2007 9:09:39 AM PDT by pissant (http://www.gohunter08.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: mewzilla

I love Monty Python.


9 posted on 03/22/2007 9:09:49 AM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (I buy gas for my Hummer with the Carbon Offsets I sell on Ebay!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: pissant

"Bath Spa University" who the h3ll goes to a school named that?


10 posted on 03/22/2007 9:10:36 AM PDT by bicyclerepair (Living in Beautiful Ft. Lauderdale)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: pissant

Hey Pissant - Good to see you. I knew you'd laugh.


11 posted on 03/22/2007 9:10:58 AM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (I buy gas for my Hummer with the Carbon Offsets I sell on Ebay!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: K4Harty

I do, too :) And I will never understand why just the prospect of facing a "jury of one's peers" isn't enough to keep more folks on the straight and narrow.


12 posted on 03/22/2007 9:11:14 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Ugly defendants 'more likely to be found guilty than attractive ones'

True, which is why people like Hillary Clinton, Henry Waxman and Rosie O'Donnel must be extremely careful as they go about their business - a simple jaywalking conviction could send them to prison for life.
13 posted on 03/22/2007 9:14:17 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (I have a big carbon footprint and I'm not afraid to use it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

What, justice is not blind?


14 posted on 03/22/2007 9:16:37 AM PDT by outofstyle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said.

Given the state of our courts, I think it would be more accurate to say that not so good looks hampers a defendant's ability to get a fair trial.
15 posted on 03/22/2007 9:17:07 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Eph 6:12)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

There is a good argument to be made that a defendant should sit behind a one-way mirror, and even that their voice should be scrambled, to force the jury to consider the facts and evidence as presented to them; instead of churning out a decision based on the appearance of the accused.

It seems to be an almost impossible demand to ask a jury to disregard appearance, even though it almost never has a bearing on the case.

Especially significant is that it has been *proven* that juries are *fairer* if they can't see the defendant, and only "tradition", and the desire of lawyers to generate unfair sympathy or prejudice keeps the exhibition of defendants as a court standard.


16 posted on 03/22/2007 9:17:54 AM PDT by Popocatapetl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
May I offer the evidence.
GUILTY.

INNOCENT.

Enough said.

17 posted on 03/22/2007 9:17:54 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Terrorists are using dim talking points over and over.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Captain OBVIOUS alert!!!!

DUH!

In fact this was in an OMNI magazine article in the 1980's!!!! (no longer published)


18 posted on 03/22/2007 9:19:29 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: K4Harty
Judge Contempt of court: However, I'm not going to punish you, because we're so short of judges at the moment, what with all of them emigrating to South Africa. I'm going tomorrow; I've got my ticket. Get out there and get some decent sentencing done. Ooh, England makes you sick. Best I can manage here is life imprisonment. It's hardly worth coming in in the morning. Now, South Africa? You've got your cat of nine tails, you've got four death sentences a week, you've got cheap drinks, slave labour and a booming stock market. I'm off, I tell you. Yes, I'm up to here with probation and bleeding psychiatric reports. That's it, I'm off. That's it. Right. But I'm going to have one final fling before I leave, so I sentence you to be burnt at the stake.

Judge Kilbraken: Blimey! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.

19 posted on 03/22/2007 9:22:14 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: null and void

I'll bet a whole lot of money helps just as much as being pretty. And if you've got both...


21 posted on 03/22/2007 9:23:35 AM PDT by the_devils_advocate_666
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

I think its crap. I've been on juries before and I've never heard any jurors arguing anything except the facts in the case.


22 posted on 03/22/2007 9:23:49 AM PDT by bkepley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bkepley
I think its crap. I've been on juries before and I've never heard any jurors arguing anything except the facts in the case.

I've been on juries before too and I know for a fact that people oftentimes don't have a clue about how or why they come to decisions. They often call it "gut" feelings and an ugly person can really twist one's gut. :-)

23 posted on 03/22/2007 9:25:51 AM PDT by rhombus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Arrowhead1952

Just the sight of Debra Lafave is so intimidating.


24 posted on 03/22/2007 9:26:49 AM PDT by HarmlessLovableFuzzball
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Well I guess I'm screwed!

Of course, I have a GREAT personality! :-)


25 posted on 03/22/2007 9:26:51 AM PDT by sneakers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bicyclerepair
"Bath Spa University" who the h3ll goes to a school named that?

Kids who want to party hardy.

26 posted on 03/22/2007 9:27:24 AM PDT by Erasmus (This tagline on sabbatical.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: null and void

There's also studies that show that jurors tend to believe attractive witnesses more than ugly ones, thin ones more than fat ones, and tall ones more than short ones.


27 posted on 03/22/2007 9:27:28 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bicyclerepair
"Bath Spa University" who the h3ll goes to a school named that?

It's in the city of Bath, England, which has mineral baths and spas. It has been a resort since Roman times. A very cool, er warm, place to visit.

28 posted on 03/22/2007 9:32:16 AM PDT by colorado tanker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Well, of course! The fact is, ugly people are more likely to be guilty! Duh!
29 posted on 03/22/2007 9:36:49 AM PDT by rogue yam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Isn't Valerie Plame beautiful...she must be innocent. ;-)
30 posted on 03/22/2007 9:38:02 AM PDT by rhombus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rhombus
I've been on juries before too and I know for a fact that people oftentimes don't have a clue about how or why they come to decisions.

Fine..show me someone convicted for being ugly. People do have gut feelings about testimony but that doesn't mean beauty has anything to do with it. Actually I think it's more probable that attractive people are more likely to be able to afford a good lawyer and that's the main thing.

31 posted on 03/22/2007 9:38:17 AM PDT by bkepley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: bicyclerepair

I took my Masters there, after graduating from Slippery Rock.


32 posted on 03/22/2007 9:39:18 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk (Hillary: A sociopath's enabler in the White House?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: bkepley

It's not so much a matter of what they say, or even think, it's what they do.


33 posted on 03/22/2007 9:40:23 AM PDT by null and void (To Marines, male bonding happens in Boot Camp, to Democrats, it happens at a Gay Pride parade...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: null and void

If this is true, then how does one explain Michael Jackson?


34 posted on 03/22/2007 9:41:40 AM PDT by LIConFem (Fred Thompson 2008. Lifetime ACU Rating: 86)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LIConFem

An 'outlier'?


35 posted on 03/22/2007 9:42:22 AM PDT by null and void (To Marines, male bonding happens in Boot Camp, to Democrats, it happens at a Gay Pride parade...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: bkepley
Fine..show me someone convicted for being ugly. People do have gut feelings about testimony but that doesn't mean beauty has anything to do with it. Actually I think it's more probable that attractive people are more likely to be able to afford a good lawyer and that's the main thing.

Nobody gets convicted for being ugly... they get convicted because juries don't believe them and that they "didn't show remorse" the way a beautiful people shows remorse (whatever that really means). And who is believed less but someone who is ugly? When was the last time you believed Helen Thomas for instance? As for the beautiful person discount for better lawyers, sadly I never received that discount so I must be guilty. :-)

36 posted on 03/22/2007 9:42:43 AM PDT by rhombus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: rhombus
As for the beautiful person discount for better lawyers, sadly I never received that discount so I must be guilty

You misread. I didn't say anything about a discount.

37 posted on 03/22/2007 9:44:17 AM PDT by bkepley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: mewzilla

Just watched that with my kids. They liked the Black Knight.


38 posted on 03/22/2007 9:44:27 AM PDT by JZelle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: bkepley
think its crap. I've been on juries before and I've never heard any jurors arguing anything except the facts in the case.

I think it considerably more subtle than that, but still valid. People tend to sympathize with those they can identify with, and they all like to think they're attractive.

39 posted on 03/22/2007 9:45:22 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: tacticalogic
I think it considerably more subtle than that, but still valid. People tend to sympathize with those they can identify with, and they all like to think they're attractive.

If there is such a bias I suspect it is more along the lines of whether a person looks respectable or not rather than beautiful or not.

40 posted on 03/22/2007 9:47:06 AM PDT by bkepley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: bicyclerepair
"Bath Spa University" who the h3ll goes to a school named that?

Clean people with crinkly skin? (Just a surmise.)

41 posted on 03/22/2007 9:52:51 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (When I search out the massed wheeling circles of the stars, my feet no longer touch the earth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Lonesome in Massachussets

*snrk*


42 posted on 03/22/2007 9:56:02 AM PDT by null and void (To Marines, male bonding happens in Boot Camp, to Democrats, it happens at a Gay Pride parade...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Time to ban Beauty


43 posted on 03/22/2007 10:12:26 AM PDT by VaBthang4 ("He Who Watches Over Israel Will Neither Slumber Nor Sleep")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VaBthang4

If it didn't affect me, personally, I'd druther ban Ugly.


44 posted on 03/22/2007 10:14:59 AM PDT by null and void (To Marines, male bonding happens in Boot Camp, to Democrats, it happens at a Gay Pride parade...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: mewzilla

"And I will never understand why just the prospect of facing a "jury of one's peers" isn't enough to keep more folks on the straight and narrow."

Nationwide, only about 2.5% of all felony cases ever make it to jury trial. Almost all the rest are resolved by plea bargain, often with prison being part of the plea deal. Facing a jury of one's peers is a frightening prospect. Hardly any criminal defendants want to do it. Even cases where one is innocent of all or part of the charges levied against him, facing a jury is a big roll of the dice that is frightening enough to make a fairly reasonable plea offer seem not so bad, even if taking it means one will have to plead guilty or no contest to things he did not do. In almost every case where plea offers are made the final offers at least will have somewhat of a "plea discount," meaning the defendant will get significantly less punishment than the prosecutor believes he'll be able to get from the judge or jury if the case proceeds to trial. The plea discount in weaker cases is almost always going to be a lot more significant than it would be in an open and shut case, and there is no doubt in my mind that occasionally a completely innocent defendant will take a really "good" offer rather than face a jury. More often than that one who is guilty of some of what he is charged with but not all of it, or who may be overcharged (guilty of a lesser crime but not of the more serious charge filed against him), will go ahead and plead to everything he charged with rather than face a jury. People are afraid of jury trials...but of course that's obviously not enough to stop deviants from deviating from the laws in the first place.


47 posted on 03/22/2007 10:18:56 AM PDT by TKDietz (")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: bicyclerepair

"Bath Spa University" who the h3ll goes to a school named that?"

Bill Clinton.


48 posted on 03/22/2007 10:29:18 AM PDT by popdonnelly (Our first responsibility is to keep the power of the Presidency out of the hands of the Clintons.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: spuriusferox

==How do you explain the results of the study, then?

Personally I don't believe that such experiments reflect the real world. If the experiment were repeated on "jurors" who believed they were involved in real trials I would also like to make sure things such as the way the defendents were dressed and the way they behaved was held constant.


49 posted on 03/22/2007 10:33:25 AM PDT by bkepley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: bkepley
"I think its crap. I've been on juries before and I've never heard any jurors arguing anything except the facts in the case"

you completely missed the point of the story.....

no one says that jurors sit there and talk looks....but they subconciously give the benefit of the doubt to the beautiful people, and the nod of suspicion to the not so beautiful.....

50 posted on 03/22/2007 10:39:58 AM PDT by cherry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-71 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson