The CSI Effect

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The CSI Effect
The modern day portrayal of criminalistics have come to create a phenomenon known as the CSI effect. The CSI effect is an attitude or belief held by the general public, juries in particular, that every crime scene will have a large variety of forensic evidence (Saferstein, 2011). Studying the statistics of criminal trials, I have found that only 5-10% of cases involve evidence that has the viability to be tested for DNA (Kourtsounis, 2009). However, every crime show depicts an almost comical amount and types of DNA samples. This paper will define and give examples on handling the CSI effect. Richard Saferstein states that this produces unrealistic and detrimental expectations that can distract from real evidence in the court
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In an interview conducted by the Dayton Daily News, Clark County Prosecutor, Andy Wilson, recalls a juror asking him why fingerprints were not lifted off of the body of a sex-crime victim. His response “We’re lucky to get fingerprints off a gun in a lot of cases,” .This is the problem many prosecutors are facing. The CSI effect in my opinion, is starting to change the definition of reasonable doubt in the court room. In a recent study published by the Dayton Daily News many statistics were issued on the CSI effect. The report stated that 58% of jurors expect “scientific evidence” to back up the prosecution in every case regarding criminal elements. Another 42% expect DNA evidence to be presented for them to find a defendant guilty. In my opinion the most staggering statistic is that 57% expect fingerprint evidence to be present. Judge Donald E. Shelton of Washtenaw county Michigan states that the CSI Effect is real but the media may play a crucial part as well. The media’s handling and reporting of exonerations have made juries “gun shy” and reluctant to impose penalties where this is no scientific …show more content…
In Illinois a man was acquitted of the attempted murder of his girlfriend, because police did not conduct tests on the blood stained sheets at the crime scene .The Illinois man, shortly after release, found his ex-girlfriend and attacked her with a knife, killing her (Heinrick). In Maryland, a man was acquitted of a murder that involved two witnesses to the shooting. The jury found that the witness testimony alone, was not enough to find the man guilty (Heinrick). Luckily legal bodies like the American Bar Association (ABA) have developed ways of managing or at least minimizing the CSI