Are Celebrities Charged with Murder Likely to Be Acquitted?

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

North American Journal of Psychology




College students served as mock jurors in a murder trial involving a movie star celebrity in one condition, a televangelist celebrity in another, and an office worker in a third. All three defendants were described as good-looking and were given first-rate legal representation. The trial transcript was manipulated in order to follow the advice of a famous lawyer who claims to have a formula for successfully defending celebrity clients (the Dubin defense). Results showed that the movie star was marginally more likely to be convicted than the other two, when their categories were combined. Those who scored high on the Celebrity Attitude Scale ("celebrity worshippers") were less likely to convict the movie star than those who scored low on the Scale. No support for the Dubin defense was found.