Juries Across the Country Suffer from the CSI-Effect

April 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

The Kansas State Collegian, just published an interesting article about the way that TV is shaping the way we think about justice and crime. The main thrust of the article points out the ways in which TV cop dramas, like CSI have shaped what Americans expect out of a detective work, and the type of evidence they believe can be collected and presented at trial.

Overall, we get fooled into believing that most of the technology and practices used on fictional TV dramas because of their ubiquity. The Above article points out that although some technology used on the shows is based in reality, much of it has been embellished or completely fabricated for dramatic effect.

What is most distressing, perhaps, is the idea that juries weighing the evidence of an actually, real-life trial have been so misled by TV that their expectation of available technology and evidence collection, that they don’t understand the limitations of actual police work. In one case, citied in the article, a rapist whose DNA was on the victim was found not-guilty by a jury expecting more evidence that simply did not exist.

To prevent these types of situations, we must all be aware that what we see on TV is not reality. Even the best of us can be sucked in by a good story on CSI or Law and Order. But when it comes to real life, lets vow to throw out the television drama and focus on the facts at hand.

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