The Courtroom Trial That Can Affect The Verdict Verdicts

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There are numerous factors in a courtroom trial that can significantly affect the verdict reached by jurors and can potentially influence whether the perpetrator of crime is ultimately convicted or is acquitted. In this essay I will explore several of these factors including how the personal characteristics of the defendant (e.g. attractiveness, gender and race) persuasion techniques (e.g. order of testimony) and jury characteristics can determine the conviction of a criminal. Psychological research has shown that the attractiveness can influence jury decisions with studies demonstrating an ‘attractive bias’ in that attractive defendants tend to receive more lenient sentences for similar crimes carried out by less attractive people. For example, Castellow et al (1990) aimed to test the effect of the attractiveness of a defendant on guilty verdicts. This was done by conducting a lab experiment in which 145 students were given details of a sexual harassment case and then shown images of a defendant & victim. These images had been previously categorised as attractive/unattractive by a panel as perceptions of attractiveness are mainly consistent between genders and races (Eisenthal et al. 2006). It was found that the combination of an attractive victim & unattractive defendant created the highest percentage of guilty verdicts (83%) when they were asked whether the defendant was guilty of sexual harassment. However, only 41% guilty verdicts were reported when the defendant was
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