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: THE "CSI EFFECT" ON REAL CRIME LABS
41 New Eng. L. Rev. 591
SHEILA L. STEPHENS*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is the newest favorite in television programming, so successful, it has quickly spawned offspring - CSI Miami and CSI New York. However, the popularity of the series is a growing concern for some criminal justice professionals. Many feel that CSI's portrayal of crime scene investigation techniques, as well as evidence collection and processing, has affected decisions rendered by jurors. As a result, CSI has found itself under the microscope.
In light of these concerns, several questions must be addressed:
I. Is there really a CSI Effect?
II. Does the series affect the public's view of evidence handling and presentation?
III. Does the series affect the public's view of the type and amount of evidence required to convict?
IV. Can the CSI Effect be measured and has anyone attempted to do so?
V. Has there been an impact on real crime labs?
VI. If the CSI Effect exists, is it positive or negative?
VII. What can and should the criminal justice system do?
I. Is There Really a CSI Effect?
The media seems to believe that the "CSI Effect" is real. 1 According to a 2004 USA Today headline: ""CSI effect' has juries wanting more evidence." 2 A 2005 U.S. News & World Report article read, "The CSI Effect: On TV it's all slam dunk evidence and quick convictions. Now juries expect the same thing - and that's a big problem." 3 The author went on to assert, "at a ...
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