skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 222020 Find in a Library
Title: Forensic Science, Wrongful Convictions, and American Prosecutor Discretion
Journal: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:47  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:31-51
Author(s): Dennis J. Stevens
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article examines the "CSI Effect" on prosecutors' decision to charge a suspect with a crime.
Abstract: Surveys from 444 American prosecutors revealed that neither forensic science nor substantial evidence shaped the prosecutors’ decisions to charge a suspect with a crime, and strongly imply that the CSI Effect shapes prosecutor discretion in unexpected ways, which includes reliance upon ‘credible’ witnesses (including forensic personnel and victims). Findings also show that judges, juries, and defense lawyers are influenced by prime-time American drama forensic accounts than by the substantial documented evidence of a case. Some suspects are never charged because of faulty prosecutor behavior. The data show that police officers can identify, arrest, secure evidence, and secure the chain of custody, but whether a suspect is charged or not charged is up to the discretionary powers of a prosecutor as opposed to the merits of the case. This causes police officer frustration with the legal system, because so many individuals are freed after an arrest and why police investigative personnel refrain from forensic participation in their cases (Lumb and Wang 2006). This study compared the CSI Effect on prosecutors in the United States and England and Wales. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Expert witnesses; Forensic sciences
Index Term(s): Courts; Investigative techniques; Specialized investigative units
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.