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How the “CSI Effect” is Changing the Criminal Courtroom

Brian J Smith Feb. 12, 2014

With courtroom dramas gathering an estimated audience of 60 million people, it’s no surprise that they’re having an impact on how jury members see real-life criminal trials.

Photo courtesy of: PublicDomainPhotos

Analysts report that jurors now expect that there will be physical evidence such as DNA or fingerprints in every case, and without them many juries won’t enter a guilty verdict even if there is other evidence of guilt. While this can be a good thing because it places higher expectations on the prosecution to prove a defendant’s guilt, the CSI effect does have its downside.

Firstly, DNA or other forensic evidence isn’t always accurate and in some cases, there is no physical evidence available at all. Lab samples can become degraded over time, and lab technicians sometimes make mistakes. In addition, sometimes the presence of physical evidence simply isn’t relevant, and its presence does not necessarily mean that the person the evidence came from committed the crime. These arguments highlight the growing concern that a jury who relies too heavily on DNA evidence may not be looking at the whole picture.

While forensic evidence can help determine details for many cases, it’s important to remember that it’s just one of many pieces of evidence that make up a trial. If you are facing criminal charges in Las Vegas, contact criminal defense attorney Brian J. Smith at (702) 380-8248.

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