A study has shown jurors tend to trust African Americans more who wear glasses. So now defendants are wearing them.
Now this should be really interesting. Here’s a taste:
Criminal defendants routinely spruce up for court appearances, donning fresh suits, shirts and ties in bids to look as mature and unmenacing as possible. Those efforts rarely merit mention. But when all five men charged with a series of 2010 killings in the District showed up for their March trial sporting large-framed, non-prescription glasses, prosecutors couldn’t let it go.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Brittin asked his star witness whether he had ever known his friend Orlando Carter to wear glasses before his trial.
“Have you ever seen him wearing glasses before?” Brittin asked.
“No,” testified Nathaniel Simms, 28, who had already pleaded guilty in the case. Then Brittin repeated the question for each of Carter’s co-defendants, who sat in a line among defense attorneys and U.S. Marshals. The answer was the same.
Non-prescription “hipster” or “personality” glasses are on one hand simply a fashion fad. But they’ve also become something of a sensation in the District’s courthouse scene: Attorneys say inmates trade them before hearings, while friends and family sometimes deliver them during jailhouse visits. Some lawyers even supply them themselves.
They often escape notice — as was the case with another murder defendant who wore glasses with thick, black frames during a summer murder trial. Convicted of first-degree murder in August, his glasses never came up in court.
But the eyewear sported during the trial of Carter and his friends, which began its fifth week in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, has attracted attention. Court observers say prosecutors seized an opportunity to suggest to jurors that the defendants were dishonest in misrepresenting their appearance.
“They’re masks. They’re designed to confuse the witness and influence the jury,” said one prosecutor who is following the trial. Another said the defendants were “putting on a schoolboy act.” The prosecutors spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.
Interesting. Very interesting. Read/learn MORE at Washington Post.