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De-Bunking the CSI Effect

In the March 2008 NIJ Journal (National Institute of Justice), felony trial judge Donald Shelton explores The 'CSI Effect': Does It Really Exist? Based on findings from a survey of jurors in Ann Arbor, Shelton concludes that it does not.

Many attorneys, judges, and journalists have claimed that watching television programs like CSI has caused jurors to wrongfully acquit guilty defendants when no scientific evidence has been presented. The mass media quickly picked up on these complaints. This so-called effect was promptly dubbed the "CSI effect," laying much of the blame on the popular television series and its progeny....

Although CSI viewers had higher expectations for scientific evidence than non-CSI viewers, these expectations had little, if any, bearing on the respondents' propensity to convict. This, we believe, is an important finding and seemingly very good news for our Nation's criminal justice system: that is, differences in expectations about evidence did not translate into important differences in the willingness to convict.

Source: Library Boy