orgtheory.net

is there a CSI effect in criminal law?

Here are some proposed effects.

Here’s the paper (pdf): Cole, S.A. & Dioso-Villa, R. 2009.  Investigating the CSI effect: Media and litigation crisis in criminal law. Stanford Law Review.

Written by teppo

July 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

Posted in law and society

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  1. “In addition, we found that media discussions of the CSI effect gave voice to
    remarkably little skepticism about the claims that the CSI effect is actually
    occurring (Table 8). For example, of 197 documents mentioning the strong
    prosecutor’s effect, only 34 gave voice to skepticism about the effect actually
    occurring. This is particularly striking, given that most legal scholars have
    expressed doubt that CSI actually has changed jury behavior. Indeed, several of
    the 34 articles voicing doubt are profiles of academics, like Donald Shelton or
    Kimberlianne Podlas, who have done empirical research that casts doubt on the
    claims advanced on behalf of the strong prosecutor’s effect.”

    Not all “academic” studies are created equal. Kimberlianne Podlas surveyed 306 college students in a mock trial. Judge Donald Shelton and his colleagues sampled over 1000 actual jurors. Still, it seems clear that the “CSI Effect” lives a healthy life in articles about it, rather than in the actual courtroom environment.

    One of the results published by Shelton, Kim, and Barack is that jurors with less education expected more physical evidence. The irony, of course, is that they are less capable of evaluating such scientific forensics.

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    Michael E. Marotta

    July 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

  2. […] Here are some proposed effects. Here's the paper (pdf): Cole, S.A. & Dioso-Villa, R. 2009.  Investigating the CSI effect: Media and litigation crisis in criminal law. Stanford Law Review. … Read More […]

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  3. Some time ago I blogged here about my experiences as a juror on a murder trial (https://orgtheory.wordpress.com/author/russcoff/). There I saw the CSI effect first hand. In jury selection, they asked us explicitly if we watched CSI or other similar crime shows. When the jury was seated, they then made a point of saying that evidence in the real world is rarely as clean as is presented on the show. They were very concerned that a jury would not convict if they held prosecutors to the fictional standards.

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    RussCoff

    July 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  4. Russ: that’s right! Thanks for the reminder —- yes, clearly criminal courts are aware of the effect (probably to varying levels, and defenses play on the effect to get people off – well benefits may also accrue to prosecutors if played right).

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    teppo

    July 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm


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