Thursday, February 28, 2013

ARE GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE MORE OR LESS LIKELY TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT IN CRIMINAL TRIALS?

Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer always assumed that good looking people have a better chance of being acquitted in Criminal jury trials. 
That's why before every trial I always suggest the Defendant take a good hot bath at least a week before the trial is set to begin; after all as Andy Warhol suggested, "the best look is a good, clean look." 

da vinci's lady with an ermine establishes the possibilities guilt  hiding within a beautiful face in Tampa Bay, Florida.
da Vinci, Innocent or Guilty?
But what about those unfortunate folks who are clean, possibly even innocent, but not good looking. Is a jury more likely to convict them just because they're beautifully challenged?

A recent counterintuitive study establishes that the opposite is true. 

In the study it was the most beautiful women who were least likely to be believed by jurors when accused of murdering their husbands. So no more baths for my clients! 

Here's an excerpt from the study:
The results showed that a defendant's physical attractiveness increased the perception of the defendant´s responsibility in committing the crime; and an interaction between prototypicality and attractiveness in assigning credibility to the defendant´s testimony. Moreover, hostile sexism mediated the relationship between the defendant´s prototypicality and controllability. 
In a recent, possibly notorious Tampa Bay, Florida case a defense lawyer suggested at sentencing that his beautiful blonde client, a teacher accused of having sex with her fifteen year old student was, "too beautiful to go to prison," as if prison were somehow a place only for ugly women who failed in their debutante debut.

Perhaps the lawyer was smart to plead, after all the Judge gave probation where many other indifferent looking defendants charged with having sexual battery still sit rotting in jail, in fact in Florida many Defendants spend significant time in prison for crimes involving minors despite never touching a child improperly. 
And maybe it was smart to not let the case go to a jury, where there could have been bias, but a bias to not believe her, to convict her because of her looks. There's at least one Clearwater criminal defense attorney in Tampa Bay, Florida who believes the lives of every person, yes even the ugly, are too beautiful to be ruined by prison.

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