Friday, March 23, 2007

U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi!

If you are a hot white women you can do just about anything. If you are a ugly black man, you might as well walk yourself to the electric chair. Don't believe me? I suggest that you spend a day in traffic court and see how the judge disposes of the tickets. Warnings for all the hot white women, large fines and lectures for the ugly black men for similar offenses.

Unless you get the angry ugly woman judge. Then it is hilarious to see the girls who are used to just acting cute and getting away with anything running into a brick wall. The whole 'You can't say that to me, I'm pretty' look is funny, especially when they get to spend the night in jail for contempt.

From the Daily Mail:

Good looks could help guilty defendants dodge justice, researchers at Bath Spa University have said. They reported that in an experiment jurors were more likely to convict suspects deemed ugly than those seen as attractive. The researchers came to these 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."


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