Do we pay too much attention to appearances here at ATL? Maybe. Who else would sponsor a U.S. Attorneys hotties contest?
But at least we’re honest about our superficiality — unlike jurors in criminal cases. From the Evening Standard (London):
Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers have said….
[A recent study showed] 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….”
“Attractive defendants are, it seems, rated less harshly than homely defendants, so perhaps justice isn’t blind after all.”
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.
Upshot: If Naomi Campbell beats up another housekeeper and is tried before a jury, she’s getting acquitted.
Ugly defendants ‘more likely to be found guilty than attractive ones’ [Evening Standard via Drudge Report]