Discuss the realities of the CSI effect. Does the research support that this is a real phenomenon? Do you agree? What can be done to address this “bias? Full 2 pages double spaced and 12 point font. Please use the below information to quote or cite the related text and one other reliable source.
Ch. 5 Textbook (Reading Information)
(PAGE 122) Introduction
The challenges involved with investigating crimes may well be characterized by a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein: “How hard I find it to see what is right in front of my eyes!” Investigating crimes has indeed become a complicated art as well as a science, as will be seen in this chapter.
The art of sleuthing has long fascinated the American public. People appear to be completely enthralled with anything involving forensics and criminal psychoses (e.g., CSI, Dexter, Criminal Minds), as well as the exploits of detectives as they pursue serial killers (e.g., Silence of the Lambs, Seven). Nor is this public interest in sleuthing a recent phenomenon: For decades, Americans have feasted on the exploits of dozens of fictional masterminds and detectives in books and movies, such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and Clint Eastwood’s Detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan, to name a few.
In reality, investigative work is largely misunderstood, often boring, and overrated; it results in arrests only a fraction of the time; and it relies strongly on the assistance of witnesses and even some luck. Nonetheless, the related fields of forensic science and criminalistics are the most rapidly developing areas of policing—and probably in all of criminal justice. This is an exciting time to be in the investigative or forensic disciplines.
This chapter begins by defining forensic science and criminalistics and by looking at their origins; including a brief discussion of crime scenes. Then we review the evolution of criminal investigation, emphasizing the identification of people and firearms. Next we analyze the application of forensic science within the larger context of the criminal justice system, followed by a review of the qualities that detectives and undercover officers should have, and the role of the medical examiner. We then briefly touch on the use of polygraph testing.
Next, we cover the status of DNA analysis. Here we consider some new policy and legal developments—(i.e., whether DNA testing should be employed for property crimes as well as for convicted offenders); also in this section, we consider a new testing approach of “familial DNA.” We then look at the contributions to investigations made by criminal profiling and psycholinguistics, and examine several developing areas in the field: using social networking sites, the handling of cold cases, and the use of dogs in criminal investigations. Finally, we consider whether or not the ubiquitous use of DNA and other forensic tools in television and movie portrayals, has created an unrealistic expectation of such evidence in the eyes of the jury—the so-called “CSI Effect”. After a discussion of three investigative techniques—(1) use of informants, (2) interviewing, and (3) interrogating—the chapter concludes with a summary, key terms, review questions, and several scenarios and activities that provide opportunities for you to learn by doing.
(PAGE 142) Is There a “CSI Effect”?
Television programs focusing on criminal investigations and forensic techniques may be creating unrealistic courtroom expectations among jurors that cannot be achieved in real life. This phenomenon has been labeled the “CSI effect.” Some court officers believe this “effect” is truly present: prosecutors indicate that jurors want to see all evidence subjected to substantial forensic examination, whether warranted in a specific case or not, while some defense attorneys believe that jurors deem all scientific evidence to be flawless and thus establishing guilt. The voir dire jury selection process may also be altered to ensure that those jurors who are unduly influenced by shows like CSI are screened from jury service. Such modifications to the usual process could result in longer trials and increased use of expert witnesses to aid the jury in understanding the presence or absence of physical evidence.87
A survey of Kentucky circuit court judges found that the impact has been strong—but not in areas where one might expect. First, three-fourths of the judges indicated that jurors have come to expect more forensic evidence; furthermore, 82 percent of the judges believed that “shows like CSI have distorted the public’s perception of time needed to obtain forensic results.” In that same connection, a slight majority (53.4 percent) believed that the popularity of shows like CSI has made it harder to convict defendants. The responding judges also perceived that these television programs create unrealistic representations concerning the state of the forensic art in their jurisdiction, as well as the speed of forensic testing.88
It may be that the “CSI effect” is, in reality, more of a nuisance for those who engage in the administration of justice, rather than a substantial factor in criminal justice processing. Or it may be that the “CSI effect” is substantial in only certain types of cases involving certain issues.89
Peak, K. J. (2018). Policing America: Challenges and Best Practices (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. eText
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