The media has a tremendous impact on the area of forensic science. The CSI effect is when juries oftentimes acquit a defendant on the basis that there was a lack of forensic evidence. Therefore, prosecutors feel the need to explain more at length why there is a lack of forensic evidence, to deemphasize the CSI effect. Although, this does not always work in their favor. There is also the idea of how juries sometimes view the forensic scientist called in on a case. They tend to liken them to the characters they see on television and connote respective feelings of admiration or vice versa.
There is also a lack of interest in forensics when it does not live up to the televised expectations. I agree with many aspects of the article. Although people can be argued as intelligent and can be seen as rising above the CSI effect, it is a plausible threat. There are many shows out there that include forensics as a main point of interest. Most of these shows are very popular and have high viewer ratings. Thus if this is what the public is watching and evidently learning from, it can have a tremendous impact on the way they make decisions.
Although there are those select few that are more knowledgeable in the area of forensics, majority of the public is oblivious. When someone is not informed of the correct way in which to apply forensics, the media has ample opportunity to influence and distort its use in its portrayal of forensics. If I were to sit on a jury I would be playing out the hundreds of episodes I viewed and seeing if they matched up to actual court room proceedings. However, by making the public aware of the adverse effect media has on the prosecution of cases, they can try and come to more logical conclusions.
The counterattack of the CSI effect is that it does not have an effect on the burden of truth. The ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is a high burden of proof and held to the strongest standard of law. Therefore the CSI effect, which is a non-articulated TV standard, is seen as less likely to exceed the highest burden that law has produced. CSI is also seen as an educational show for criminals. Criminals can learn how to avoid detection based on details depicted in these shows. Criminalists report more sophistication on the part of criminals in avoiding detection.
They abuse the use of bleach in cleaning up blood, tend to wear gloves and remove cigarette butts at crime scenes. Thus criminals are gaining the knowledge from these shows, on what not to do at a crime scene. In the US, and all over the world, there are many communities where organized crime is rampant. Organized crime, consists of a group of like-minded individuals, with the same intent on fulfilling a crime. In the past organized crime consisted of members finding out orders of business by means of a hierarchy.
As of recent, this system has evolved to one more technologically advanced, by moving from ‘in-house’ operations to the use of cellular and network structures as a means of communication. In some communities of organized crime corruption exists on different levels. Organized crime cartels seek to maximize their potential for crime by involving political or state officials. For example, police can sometimes be bribed to turn a blind eye in cases involving the organized crime unit.
In these cases, where the police are corrupt, people tend to vary in their ways of solving their dilemmas. On the one hand, going to the police on a topic involving the organized crime community, can lead to threats on that person’s life and endangerment of his family. Therefore, many take things into their own hands and try to deal with their problems the way they know best. If there is no law to protect a person they may resort to measures of crime or violence. If this is not a possibility, as the person is milder-mannered, they may never see justice done.
In some cases, however, activists or social reformers, will look for real solutions to the corruption. This can lead towards their campaigning for a reformed and fair legal system. The CSI effect is very controversial on how it affects the outcome of a trial. It can either be argued as a substantial factor in wrongful acquittals or as a no-outcome affect. Both have lucrative evidence supporting their theory. However, I feel it has a tremendous impact on the jury’s view of forensic science.