Ryan Sager on the impact of graphic evidence of crimes:
Social science research has made it clear that confronting the true gruesomeness of a crime makes us much more likely to want to punish it and more likely to want to punish it more harshly.
Take that Lacy Peterson example. Sure, a written description of the crime will let you know what happened. But take this description of research conducted by David Bright of the University of New South Wales: “Jurors presented with gruesome evidence, such as descriptions or images of torture and mutilation, are up to five times more likely to convict a defendant than jurors not privy to such evidence.”