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CJA235 Police Organizational Structure and Operations

Published : 22-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10


Many scholars have examined through research the so-called CSI effect and its impact on the criminal justice system. Some scholars argue that popular media portrayals of the universality and use of forensic evidence on television shows such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) have caused jurors in actual trials to expect forensic evidence to prominently feature in a prosecution's case. When such evidence isn't available, jurors determine that there is reasonable doubt, regardless of the strength of other direct or circumstantial evidence.

Using the Argosy University online library, search for scholarly articles on the CSI effect. 

In your paper:

Define the CSI effect for the purposes of the article.

Analyze and identify the research questions in the article.

Summarize the methods and findings of the chosen article.

Provide your opinion concerning the implications of the study for the use of or lack of forensic evidence in criminal trials.


Crime scene investigation is the term applied to the steps taken to investigate a crime scene. It usually begins with the place where the crime was committed. Crimes can be committed both intentionally and unintentionally.  It should be noted that a crime scene is out of bounds to the public; for a proper investigation to be carried out. For example in a cold blood murder, the police officer in charge is required to create a boundary for forensic experts. Furthermore, it is here that physical evidence is acquired. These include hair, bloodstained objects, and furniture amongst others. The officer in charge in called a crime scene technician.  They are also in charge of carrying out interviews to nearby witnesses. In addition, he teams up with other specialists to ensure that the investigation was thoroughly carried out. This usually includes photographers and forensic pathologists. In the contemporary world today, crimes are committed in every corner of residence and social gatherings.  Moreover, it is not only criminals; but also ordinary citizens who have caused a hit and run accidents. The main challenge has been situations whereby the evidence is cooked in favor of the criminal. Quite often, it has been a scenario whereby the victim bribes the criminal bribes the officer in charge to cover the felony.

The scholarly article in this study will be The CSI Effect: Does it exist by Donald E. Shelton. He looks deeply into the explanation of crime scene investigation. He focuses on how movies, TV, dramas and documentaries are bringing the reality of crimes to the eyes of the common man. However, he questions the credibility of the presentations as some of them are fictitious. He further looks into the use of technology in investigating crimes. It is no doubt that the crimes have been investigated by advancement in technology. Basing on his research, Shelton states that journalists, judges, and attorneys have had their judgment clouded by too much watching of crime scene investigation on the TV. The research findings by Shelton were based examining the rating of TV dramas (Shelton, n.d.). He also sampled various criminal cases and compared the credibility of the conclusion. The millions of people who watched forensic drama were analyzed in every state. He also interviewed the drama producers and viewers of CSI on the TV. The effect of watching CSI on TV has been widely criticized by the media. However, the media has been quick to blame production houses; rather than focusing on viewers. It is also unfair to have a general conclusion because some viewers are not affected by the dramas about the crime scene investigations.

Donald sampled his research on evidence regarding scientific evidence, fingerprint evidence, DNA   and laboratory evidence. In the long run, the conclusion was that the jury, general public, and witnesses expected forensic evidence to be the most essential in establishing the truth. The point to note however that is the most elaborate form of evidence was the DNA which does not require complex steps for it to be achieved. In my opinion, I completely concur with Shelton on the effect of CSI viewing to citizens and the jury as a whole (Shelton, n.d.).  For instance, in a night 30 million watch CSI dramas which manipulate their minds, from the dawning reality of crimes committed? However where I completely differ with him is the generalization of criminal experts. He fails to give a sample of judges, prosecutors, attorneys and witnesses who stand firm on their principles.

It is also unrealistic for a judge to give a verdict on a case based on a TV drama. On the other hand, many people prefer forensic evidence as opposed to any time of evidence. Many at times it should be noted that shallow evidence is acquired from photos and eye witnesses. Evidenced here will be based on the memory of the individual which cannot be relied on due to psychological and physiological issues. DNA evidence gives the facts areas as it is. Take for instance if someone is brutally murdered and buried, exhuming of the body will be well identified by DNA. Hair, sweat, and dental formulae are essential in identifying who the person was. However, at times, forensic evidence is faced with challenges if the crime scene is tampered with. This can be if a place is torched beyond visual recognition. This will make it difficult for forensic experts to identify body fluids or remains. Another scenario is whereby citizens will demand to get into the crime scene. It should be noted that at times citizens and the officers engage in running battles (Shelton, n.d.). For example is a popular person is shot or knocked down by a vehicle, citizens will not give officers an ample time for their investigation. If anyone walks into the crime scene, their body remains will hinder the actual killer or person involved.

The use of forensic evidence in criminal trials gives the jury a simple task in giving a verdict.  There are few cases whereby someone was in the wrong place at the wrong time; for example calling for help by touching the victims’ body. In the world, today technology has ensured that forensic experts are given the right equipment to carry out their investigation. Comparison of the early centuries to the 21st century clearly indicates changes duration of time in solving crimes. Before civilization evidence relied on statements or assumptions. The lack of forensic evidence in a case is likely to have conflicting statements amongst witnesses, lawyers and all participants of the case. A good example is the color of the car, the victim’s last events, dressing code, and behavior. Statements can be exaggerated, but forensic evidence gives the verdict as quick as possible with no bias. It should be noted that hair, sweat, and skin will never be the same. Basing on the scholarly article from Shelton the society should be educated on how to distinguish reality and fiction. The jury, on the other hand, should never compare CSI dramas to their ongoing cases. Neither should they give a verdict nor did statements base on the CSI from TV series.


Shelton, H. The ‘CSI Effect’: Does It Really Exist? (1st ed.). Retrieved from

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