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How the CSI effect hurts defendants

| Feb 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Over the years, prosecutors and attorneys in Texas have come to the realization that many jurors are being influenced by crime television shows. These shows tell people that in order to convict someone, the prosecutor must have an enormous and detailed amount of forensic evidence. This is phenomenon is the CSI effect. Read on further to learn about this topic and how it is actually hurting defendants more than helping them.

The CSI effect on jurors

Unlike in movies and television shows, not every piece of evidence is in pristine condition waiting for a lab of scientists to study it. Some evidence is simply not in the best condition and thus not allowed in a trial. Jurors, however, are expecting items such as gunshot impact recreations to be presented to them. Criminal law attorneys must then take time to explain to them why this evidence is unavailable or cannot be used. Of course, jurors may see this as being suspicious and thus cast a dark light on the accused.

Hollywood and public perceptions

Television shows are changing the public perception of how real-world forensic evidence works. It all comes down to the time constraints of putting on a television show. Because a TV crime must be solved within 30 to 60 minutes, evidence that would take weeks or even months is shown to be ready in an instant. This can play with the minds of potential jurors and thus change their perception regarding the evidence being presented in a real-world case.

Although not fully understood, the CSI effect is still a very real influence on a jury. That is why it is so important to consult with an attorney who understands this and is able to translate the relevant considerations to potential jurors.