SYMPOSIUM: THE CSI EFFECT: THE TRUE EFFECT OF CRIME SCENE TELEVISION ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: DEVIL IN A WHITE COAT: THE TEMPTATION OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE IN THE AGE OF CSI Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2007 New England School of Law
New England Law Review

SYMPOSIUM: THE CSI EFFECT: THE TRUE EFFECT OF CRIME SCENE TELEVISION ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: DEVIL IN A WHITE COAT: THE TEMPTATION OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE IN THE AGE OF CSI

Spring, 2007

41 New Eng. L. Rev. 503

Author

J. HERBIE DIFONZO & RUTH C. STERN*

Excerpt



Introduction: CSI vs. Reality
 
On October 13, 2006, a couple and their two small children were found shot to death on a desolate stretch of Florida highway. 2 Police found tracks along the roadway belonging to a van or sport utility vehicle. 3 Concluding that the killer and the victims may have been traveling together, police also noted that the victims may have been lying down or kneeling when shot. 4 The mother's defensive posture indicated that she had tried to shield the children from the bullets with her body. 5 No footprints were found in the vicinity and the only physical evidence on the scene consisted of bullet fragments and casings. 6 A surveillance camera on a nearby pole had not been operating that night. 7 Two witnesses who heard a rapid succession of loud pops at 2:30 a.m. on that day were unsure of what they heard and went back to bed. 8

To all appearances, this lonely roadway represents the most arid of forensic landscapes: a crime scene yielding few, if any, clues. One wishes for a crime scene investigation team, like one of the teams so popular on television, that could magically unearth all sorts of tell-tale evidence, read the tire tracks as if they were an account of the incident in Braille, discover traces of the killer's DNA on a previously overlooked fragment of debris, and divine the details of the horror from the posture and condition of the bodies.

But the actual ...
 
 
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