Sometimes, media affects the way that people interact with the justice system. Many Americans know their Miranda rights by heart thanks to shows like “Law & Order” or even reruns of “Dragnet”. The crime drama “CSI” has made a big impression on the public consciousness, too. New Jersey residents who are facing criminal charges should understand that the so-called “CSI Effect” can potentially have a negative impact on their cases.
Understanding the CSI effect
“CSI” was such a popular show for CBS that it spawned a host of spinoffs. In 2006, as many as 30 million people were watching new episodes on the nights they debuted. People loved watching a diverse team of professionals crack the case every week and help bring criminals to justice. However, as with all adaptations, the writers stretched the truth a bit with their approach to criminal law.
A big part of the CSI effect is the expectation that there will be concrete physical evidence linked to any criminal charge. Regrettably, that’s simply not the case. Jurors have been primed to think that there will be fingerprints, DNA testing and bagged, tagged fiber evidence in every trial. Things like DNA testing are expensive and there isn’t always a fiber to collect.
The CSI effect can potentially hurt your case because many lawyers now want to exclude potential jurors who watch crime shows. There’s also a trend towards attorneys spending too much time teaching the jury how to view evidence. It’s important to pick a criminal defense lawyer with care.
The attorney you choose shouldn’t just have a great education and a likable demeanor. They should also have a good track record in the courtroom, and the ability to discuss your concerns with you. That includes an understanding of the CSI effect and what that might mean for your case.