In the civil arena, trial counsel may reduce the impact of any preconceived assumptions about the nature of the evidence to be produced at trial by simply telling the jury that the sort of evidence they have come to anticipate as shown on television will not be presented. Civil trials are now often televised, which may serve to reinforce jurors' expectations about the nature of evidence in these cases.
The best remedy for this problem is for judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys to work together to try and prevent the first place from being taped. Jury selection in criminal cases should be a joint effort between the prosecution and defense to ensure that each side has a fair chance of selecting an impartial jury. Judges should also take measures to discourage media coverage of trials by prohibiting the broadcasting of voir dire questions and proceedings before the jury is selected. Defense attorneys should exercise caution not to give interviews or addendums to articles that might bring attention to their cases.
All of these efforts should be made to encourage both the prosecution and defense to select juries that are willing to decide cases based solely on the evidence presented in court rather than prior to the start of trial.
The CSI effect proposes that watching television shows depicting forensic science (for example, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) might influence how juries judge forensic evidence. We conclude with recommendations regarding how the CSI effect should be handled in court and directions for further scholarly work.
Forensic scientists engage in many activities beyond simply analyzing crime scene photos and laboratory tests to help judges and jurors make accurate decisions. Scientists have an important role to play in the courtroom because they can analyze physical evidence that may not be apparent to the naked eye or on its own merit an investigation as a whole. For example, scientists can test items such as bullets, fibers, and chemicals found at the scene. They can also review witness statements and reports to identify patterns or similarities in what witnesses say happened. Finally, scientists can give an opinion on whether certain methods used to manipulate or alter evidence could invalidate findings.
In recent years, there has been much debate about how courts should deal with the so-called CSI effect. Some judges and lawyers believe that crime scene photos and television shows tend to focus on gruesome images and thus might influence jurors' decision making when they are presented with evidence they might find disturbing. Others argue that this is unfair because scientists have no control over the content of police investigations or trials and therefore cannot avoid covering violent or gruesome crimes when doing their jobs.
Prosecutors believe that crime shows are skewing juries' courtroom expectations, making it more difficult to win their cases and convict offenders. Furthermore, studies show that CSI viewers have higher expectations for trial evidence than non-viewers. This creates a bias where jurors feel compelled to vote "guilty" just because they expect it.
Crime shows have become such a dominant genre in television that even judges are guilty of watching them. In an effort to understand how media influences juror decision-making, one study asked judges at Los Angeles County Superior Court to watch two identical trials, one presented in standard form and the other with several changes made to mirror aspects of the crime show "Perry Mason". The results showed that jurors were more likely to find the defendant "not guilty" when the trial was shown on a crime show rather than in court. This demonstrates that media can influence real trials and judgments, not just mock ones like on TV.
CSI has led to many problems in courts across the country. Crime scene photos that would normally be used as exhibits at trials are instead posted on the web for all to see. This allows fans to share their opinions about what might have happened based on what they think they saw on the show. Many times, these conclusions are wrong but that doesn't matter since there's no way to correct people if they post comments under false names or something else comes up.
The "CSI Effect" was initially defined in the media as a phenomena caused by watching forensic and crime-related television programmes. This impact causes jurors to have false expectations about forensic science during a criminal trial, influencing their judgments in the conviction or acquittal process.
Specifically, researchers have observed that viewers are more likely to believe that the scene of a crime contains evidence that can be used to identify the suspect, that every physical feature of the victim can provide information about what happened, and that even very small traces of blood can be useful for determining the cause of death. Furthermore, they claim that this influence extends to police investigations as well. For example, one study showed that when officers were told that the programme they were working on had a positive audience reaction to a particular hypothesis, they were four times more likely to ask potential witnesses questions relevant to that theory than if they were told that the theory was unpopular with viewers.
These effects have been observed by researchers across different countries who have studied how people react to different types of crime dramas. They have also been noted by judges who have sat on murder trials where some of the evidence has been shown in detail on television before the jury has retired to consider its verdict.
Lawyers refer to the "CSI" impact as the false expectations established by television crime dramas on the general public – and hence the jury pool. It really exists. Judges have admitted people based solely on the evidence seen in these shows.
There are three types of CSI: Crime scene photos, or forensic photographs; crime scene sketches; and physical evidence collection. The field of crime scene photography was born out of police need for quick documentation of crimes scenes. Officers needed something more accurate than their naked eye to record what they saw at the scene. In the 1980s, photographers started taking pictures with digital cameras instead of using film rolls. Today, digital photography is used by crime scene photo analysts to recreate events that may have happened during a crime.
Crime scene drawings are simple line drawings created from memory by officers who do not have time to write down all the details they see at crime scenes. These drawings help them to quickly identify possible suspects, evidence that needs to be collected, and other key information about the case. Crime scene photos and sketches can also help officers to avoid collecting evidence that is not related to the case. For example, an officer might see blood spatter on a wall when investigating a murder scene but not collect it because he believes that other police will be able to use it to identify the killer.