CSI Effect

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was introduced to viewers in October 2000. Since that time, the franchise has added two versions in major metropolitan areas, now addressing crime scenarios in Las Vegas, Miami and New York City. Based on the most recent Nielsen ratings for primetime television shows, the CSI franchise claimed approximately 35 million viewers during the 2010 – 2011 viewing season. The popularity of forensic science drama on television has led officers of the court to voice opinions that there is a “CSI effect” which alters the juror pools and outcomes of criminal trial proceedings. The differences between made for television fiction and actual crime solving are many and when jurors consider themselves pseudo-experts those lines may get blurred in the courtroom. Jurors have unrealistic ideas of evidence processing. ”Such programs give the impression that forensic laboratories are fully staffed with highly trained personnel, stocked with a full complement of state-of-the-art instrumentation and rolling in the resources to close every case in a timely fashion.” (Houck 85) Forensic laboratories face funding deficits, not enough suitably trained staff and the consistent advancement of technology. University of Maryland forensic scientist Thomas Mauriello estimates that about 40 percent of the forensic science shown on CSI does not exist. Carol Henderson, director of the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law, told a publication of that institution that jurors are “sometimes disappointed if some of the new technologies that they think exist are not used.” (Houck 87) Investigators often have to explain to victims that it is not possible to collect a sample of... ... middle of paper ... ...the public opinion of government trustworthiness. Studies have not been able to clearly define if the CSI effect has had an actual influence on the outcome of trials. However surveys indicate many possible jurors believe they are more knowledgeable about criminology after watching the shows. CSI viewers may become more knowledgeable about forensic science and investigation processes but that knowledge does not affect the outcome of the criminal justice process. Works Cited Dioso-Villa, Simon A. Cole & Rachel. "INVESTIGATING THE ‘CSI EFFECT’ EFFECT:MEDIA AND LITIGATION CRISIS IN CRIMINAL LAW." Stanford Law Review 61.6 (2009): 1335-1374. Houck, Max M. "CSI: Reality." Scientific American July 2006: 85-89. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. n.d. 13 February 2012 .
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