Does CSI Make it Harder to Convict Criminals?

Is it possible long exposure to “procedural TV shows” like CSI has tainted jurors’ expectations? Do citizens sitting on juries expect investigators to have DNA results in 20 minutes, or to employ extremely high-tech methods to catching and convicting every criminal who comes to trial?

An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica titled “Post Mortem” has exposed how death investigation in America is nothing like what you see on TV. That shouldn’t be too surprising; still, prosecutors complain that shows like CSI make it more likely that jurors will expect ultra-high-tech tests before they’re willing to convict suspects.

What prosecutors call The CSI Effect makes it increasingly difficult to get convictions in the courtroom, they say.

The producers of the CSI series think jurors are too sophisticated to expect computer programs to deliver the detailed and instantaneous results their programs sometimes portray. Still, many legal experts insist jurors often confuse fact with fiction. They feel pressure to convince juries they’ve employed every available high-tech forensic test before they can convince jurors the defendant is guilty.

What do you think? Can this question be researched with credible results?

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels.
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