Presentation At The 2010 Cooley Law School Symposium On The Csi Effect

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This article originated from the author 's presentation at the 2010 Cooley Law School Symposium on the "CSI Effect." It reviews the results of two empirical studies of Michigan jurors in various jurisdictions, which previously concluded that the "prosecutor version" of the so-called CSI effect cannot be substantiated empirically. The article then describes merged data from the two studies and the analysis of that merged data. The data supports the earlier suggestion of a "tech effect" based on cultural changes, rather than any direct impact on certain television programs or genres. It is suggested that while the prosecutor version of the CSI effect is a myth, there are increased juror expectations that arise from the combination of the tech effect, the general media portrayal of forensic evidence, and the misperception of attorneys and judges that the CSI effect does exist. Possible justice system responses to that combined effect are described, and it is suggested that the legal system must adapt itself to modern juror expectations rather than blaming jurors for "unreasonable" expectations and demands for forensic science evidence. 'Blaming CSI Is Too Simplistic '
Donald Shelton, the chief judge of Washtenaw County, Mich., is skeptical. He began to notice that reports about the CSI Effect were long on anecdote, and short on data. “One of the things that surprised me when I started looking into the CSI Effect was that there was no empirical research. Even the so-called

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