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41 New Eng. L. Rev. 471 (2006-2007)
The CSI Effect: Its Impact and Potential Concerns

handle is hein.journals/newlr41 and id is 479 raw text is: THE CSI EFFECT: ITS IMPACT AND
POTENTIAL CONCERNS
CRAIG M. COOLEY*
INTRODUCTION
A unique situation exists in the United States regarding forensic
science. At one end of the spectrum, forensic science is deeply embraced
by television viewers who religiously watch forensic science crime dramas
such as CSI, CSI. Miami, CSI: New York, and Crossing Jordan.' According
to news reports, due to the media's distorted imagery of forensic science,
faithful viewers naively believe that forensic evidence and examiners can
quickly solve even the most complex crimes.' More specifically, this
segment of American society has come to believe or blindly assume three
broad themes regarding the forensic science community: (1) crime labs are
pristine scientific sanctuaries, which always have the most up-to-date
forensic technology; (2) crime labs only employ the most skilled and
imaginative scientists who make few, if any, errors; and (3) forensic
scientists are actually practicing and engaging in legitimate science. On the
other end of the spectrum, forensic science is presently viewed with an
unprecedented level of skepticism and angst by criminal justice actors, such
Assistant Federal Defender, Capital Habeas Unit, Law Offices of the Federal Public
Defender, District of Nevada; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law; M.S.
(forensic science), University of New Haven; B.S. (psychology), University of
Pittsburgh. Mr. Cooley can be contacted through his email, Craig Cooley@fd.org, or
law forensic@yahoo.com.
1.   In a recent Nielson's rating poll, seven of the top twenty television shows were
premised on forensic investigations and courtroom dramas, meaning more than 120
million viewers, many of whom can be prospective jurors in criminal cases, tuned
into these shows. See Rocky Salmon & Pat O'Brien, Jurors Tuning in to TV's
Influence; Popular Crime and Forensics Programs Are Changing Courtroom
Perceptions, Lawyers Say, PRESS ENTERPRISE (Riverside, Cal.), May 1, 2005, at Al.
2.   See Kit R. Roane & Dan Morrison, The CSI Effect, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REP., Apr.
25, 2005, at 48, available at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/articles/050425/
25csi.htm; Richard Willing, CSI Effect Has Juries Wantin& More Evidence, USA
TODAY, Aug. 5, 2004, at Al, available at http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/
news/ 2004-08-05-csi-effectx.htm.

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