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An investigation was conducted to determine the conditions under which an offender's status is a harmful liability or a protective shield. One model (Rosoff, 1989) suggests that these status effects are moderated by crime magnitude, with status acting as a liability for major crimes and as a shield for minor crimes. An alternative model suggests that the status effects are moderated by the professional relatedness of a crime, with status functioning as a liability for crimes related to the offender's profession and as a shield for crimes unrelated to the offender's profession. One hundred and ninety-five introductory psychology students were asked to recommend sanctions after reading transcripts of a case describing a high or low status person who was found guilty of committing a major or a minor crime that was or was not related to his profession. High status offenders were judged more harshly than low status offenders when the crime was professionally related, but low status offenders were judged more harshly than high status offenders when the crime was not professionally related (p <.02). Although sanctions were more extreme for the major crime than for the minor crime (p <.001), high and low status offenders were not sanctioned differentially as a function of crime severity. The results suggest that status liability and shield effects are moderated by professional relatedness rather than by crime magnitude.