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Csi Effect Essay

843 words - 4 pages

There has been numerous cop or court shows on TV such as Perry Mason, but at the end of 2000 CBS aired, first of its kind, crime drama show called CSI. The show started out showing a murder occurring and the crime scene investigators discussing the case. The show proceeds to show the problems the investigators face and the techniques they are going to use to solve the case. Millions of people tuned in to the hour long show to watch Grissom and the other investigators solve crimes by using sophisticated machines like a mass spectrometer and comparison microscopes etc. Each of the characters specialized in different areas of science such as blood spatter analyst, audio video expert, hair/fiber expert, and material/element analyst.
The “CSI effect” was coined after this show, because people who watch it began to think they were educated in the different forensic sciences. Jurors began to look for scientific evidence in trials to make their decision of innocence or guilt (Shelton, 2008). The jurors believe that without this evidence they are unable to come to a definitive conclusion of guilt. In a 2006 survey of potential jurors done by Gregg Barak, Ph.D., and Young Kim, Ph.D., criminology professors at Eastern Michigan University, and Honorable Donald E. Shelton found that jurors do expect some type of scientific evidence from the prosecution. The jurors were able to say they wanted certain evidence with specific crimes; such as a rape or murder they want DNA (2008). Shelton states the survey concluded that “jurors were more likely to find a defendant guilty than not guilty even without scientific evidence if the victim or other witnesses testified” (2008).
The idea that juries are expecting more proof of guilt from the lawyers is not all that shocking. The Innocent Project is an organization that dedicates their time and resources to help wrongfully convicted people get the justice they deserve. According to the Innocent Project’s website there have been 312 exonerations with DNA alone in the United States (Unknown). Having the responsibility of putting someone in jail or even to death is a daunting task for juries. This could be why juries are expecting more from prosecutors and defense attorneys; they do not want to convict the wrong person. It is widely perceived that there is scientific evidence left at every crime scene such as DNA or fingerprints. Fingerprints have been proven to be...

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