Perry: Do you know what happens to little girls who lie to their lawyers? In murder cases, they wind up in death row at San Quentin, or, if they happen to be nice-looking, like you, they may have a fifty-fifty chance of making the women's prison at Tehachapi, cooped up in a cell with no makeup, the drab -- stop!There does seem to be numerous studies that validate Perry Mason's seemingly outrageous claim that pretty people receive lighter sentences.
From a University of Oslo , Norway study described in 13 May 2003 Reuters article "Lighter sentences for good-looking criminals":
"Good-looking criminals are likely to get lighter sentences even when people only have a written description of their looks, a Norwegian study showed on Monday.
The 500 university students surveyed handed down far milder punishments for crimes by a man described as 'handsome' or a woman described as 'pretty' than when the word was left out.
All the students were given a written description of crimes ranging from theft to rape and murder, but only half had a description of the looks of the offender.
The study revealed the clearest bias towards good-looking criminals who committed less serious crimes such as theft, smuggling and fraud. The students gave them about 20% lighter punishment on average.""The Economist" in their Oct 6th 2012 "A judgment call" article doesn't cite a specific study but just asserts:
"Attractive women and baby-faced men get shorter sentences."However a "Science and Religion Today" MAY 18, 2010 article Juries Give Good-Looking People Lighter Sentences reviewing a Cornell University study validates and corroborates data from the Norwegian study:
"'Unattractive' defendants were found guilty 22 percent more often than good-looking defendants were, and they spent, on average, 22 more months in prison."