Does a beard make you look more aggressive? Juries say ‘yes’

It may seem ridiculous to people in St. Paul, but MSNBC notes that people with beards are thought to be more aggressive and more likely to commit a violent or horrific crime, like a sex crime. All kidding aside, this poses a serious problem for bearded men who are accused of a crime.

This blog has mentioned before that the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that each and every individual who is put on trial for a crime may appear before an impartial jury. If jury members believe that a suspect with a beard is more likely to be guilty of rape than a man with no beard, the suspect’s criminal defense attorney will have a much more difficult time defending him than if he were clean-shaven.

Being accused of a sex crime can be life-changing. Even if a suspect is able to clear his or her name, he or she may have a difficult time convincing members of the public, future employers and neighbors of his or her innocence. People may believe that the suspect got off on a technicality and that he or she actually did what was accused.

So what does this mean for Minnesota men with beards? Studies have shown that when mock juries were asked if they thought a man was guilty of various crimes, the juries thought men with beards were guilty. Another study found that 82 percent of people sketched a man with a beard when asked to draw the face of a criminal offender.

Source: MSNBC, “Sorry, guys: We judge you by your facial hair,” Brian Alexander, May 10, 2012

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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