The CSI Effect Essay

1905 Words8 Pages
In 2006, over 100 million people in the United States tuned in to watch either CSI or any if the other forensic and criminal investigation related television show each week (CJSG). Since then, the number of viewers has increased rapidly, as well as the amount of television shows with the same type of theme. As a result of the increase of these television programs, researchers are discovering a new phenomenon called the ‘CSI Effect’ that seems to be fueling an interest in forensic science and criminal investigations nationwide. This effect is actually the ability of criminal justice themed television shows to influence and increase victims’, jurors’ and criminals’ ideas about forensics, DNA testing and methods, and criminal investigations…show more content…
In the past, the jury learned from the forensic scientists’ testimony; but now, they’re learning from television and a lot of reality shows. Consequently, what they’re learning is not necessarily what is actually done (Honeycutt). However, those jurors who watch criminal investigation television shows do believe that what they’re seeing on TV is what does go on in real life and they expect to see it in court. This is because, according to Shelton, “the more frequently jurors watched a given program, the more accurate they perceived it to be.”
Unfortunately, these shows also create a false expectation that clear and definite evidence can be shown for any case, which is not true. Jurors expect every case to have thorough scientific evidence from the best and most modern technology and to look exactly as it does on a television show (Shelton). Radford said, “Science does not operate on certainties.” During an investigation, scientists don’t ever say that the DNA being tested is a “match” to the suspect because nothing can ever be a definite match. Instead, their vocabulary consists of phrases such as
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