Do better looking defendants stay out of jail? – It may be the last place you want to be judged on your looks, but in a court of law it pays to be attractive. If you’re not good looking, get your lawyer to use your brain scan to prove you’re telling the truth.
A new study has found that unattractive defendants are 22% more likely to be convicted, and tend to get hit with longer, harsher sentences, with an average of 22 months longer in prison recommended by the study’s participants.
Researcher Justin Gunnell says, “22 months may not seem like a lot to an outsider, but I guarantee that to the person serving the sentence it will seem like a lot.”
An fMRI machine can “read” your brain as you are talking, thus it makes an excellent lie detector. Rather than wheeling a bulky machine into the courtroom and projecting the results onto a screen where jurors could see them, attorney David Zevin plans to use a printout of his defendant’s brain scan as evidence in a sexual harassment case he is trying.
As you might expect, the opposition is fighting this. In Wired.com, Alexis Madrigal quotes neuroscientist Elizabeth Phelps as saying, “The data in their studies don’t appear to be reliable enough to use in a court of law. There is just no reason to think that this is going to be a good measure of whether someone is telling the truth. [And] once you have precedent, it’s much harder to keep it out. They’ve yet to get it admitted as evidence. So every time it comes up, it’s very important that it doesn’t get in.”
One of the problems Phelps has is that the brain scan was done 4 years after the witness allegedly heard her boss’s sexual remarks about the plaintiff. Meanwhile, there are at least 2 companies trying to sell their brain scan services to the legal profession.
Hey, we know how to look good, but sometimes we wish WE could scan people’s brains to find out why we don’t get more of the help we need so desperately. Despite having no advertising on other media, we have 60% more readers and listeners than we did a year ago, through word-of-mouth alone. Now if only more of you would support us, there’s a chance we might still be here tomorrow!
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Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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