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CSI Effect

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Thomas M. Cooley Law Review
October 14, 2009

Juror Expectations for Forensic Science: Does Reality Meet the Standard?

On TV DNA analysis takes minutes, latent finger prints are lifted from a host of unusual locations, and video enhancement is state of the art. But in reality, scientific technology does not yet permit the development of finger prints on many surfaces, the limits of forensic science are largely unknown to the general population and cases can be backlogged for more than a year. Does the "CSI Effect" actually exist? Do jurors have expectations that cannot be met, resulting in acquittals or hung juries, whereas, the same evidence presented 10 year ago would have resulted in a conviction? This year's distinguished speakers will answer these questions from all aspects of the criminal justice system.