Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney was surprised by the results of new study establishing that overweight women are less likely to receive a fair trial than others. Thin male jurors were the most likely to be biased against overweight women, while women and overweight men were least biased.

The study from Yale University found that bias to obese women was shown by male jurors against overweight women, especially when the men were thin as detailed in this excerpt from the full weight bias study:

Male participants judged the obese female defendant as significantly guiltier than the lean female defendant.

Degas' ballerinas are beautiful but not thin, would male jurors in Tampa Bay be biased because the ballerina's are overweight?
Degas, Ballerina,1875

Additionally, the lean male participants believed the obese female defendant was more aware of having criminal intent as compared with the lean female defendant. They also viewed her as more likely commit a crime in the future as compared with the lean female defendant. Differences between ratings of the obese female defendant and the lean female defendant were only observed among male participants; female respondents judged the two female defendants equally regardless of body weight.

Until this study I believed that the most significant threat to fair trials in America was biased information spread thru cellphone technology, but latent bias within the criminal justice system based on a Defendant’s personal characteristics undermines the very notion that justice can ever be fair. 
If male jurors are biased isn’t it likely that male judges may also be biased in sentencing, that male probation officers may be more likely to violate and male prosecutors more likely to ask for harsher sentences when dealing with overweight female defendants? Are  men more judgmental of heavy weight women because they view being overweight as a sign of weakness and lack of control? Do these men believe that somehow women have some duty to make themselves appealing to them?

Clearly Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyers must make certain that everyone involved in the criminal justice system be unbiased and fair by probing for potential bias expressed verbally or nonverbally not only while picking potential jurors during voir dire but through the entire process. 


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.