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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222390 Find in a Library
Title: Study of Juror Expectations and Demands Concerning Scientific Evidence: Does the "CSI Effect" Exist?
Journal: Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Techical Law  Volume:2  Issue:9  Dated:2006  Pages:331-368
Author(s): Hon. Donald E. Shelton; Young S. Kim; Gregg Barak
Date Published: 2006
Page Count: 37
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study investigated the existence and extent of the “CSI effect”, that watching crime-related television programs causes jurors to wrongfully acquit guilty defendants when no scientific evidence is presented supporting the case.
Abstract: To the extent that many prosecutors, judges, and journalists claim that the direct effect of watching CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or other crime-related television programs is to make jurors more likely to acquit guilty defendants, the results of this study do not confirm that any such “CSI effect” exists. The results show that specifically watching CSI or a similar show did not have a causative impact on juror demands for scientific evidence as a condition of a guilty verdict in most criminal case scenarios. A significant percentage of all respondent jurors have high expectations that the prosecutor will present some scientific evidence in virtually every criminal case. The study suggests that these juror expectations of and demands for scientific evidence are the result of broader changes in popular culture related to advancements in both technology and information distribution. These increased expectations and demands of jurors therefore could be more accurately referred to as the “tech effect.” This paper is the first empirical study of jurors designed to investigate the existence and extent of the “CSI effect.” A survey of 1,027 persons who had been called for jury duty in a Michigan State court during a 9-week period in 2006 was conducted. The survey examined the summoned jurors’ demographic information, television viewing habits, their expectations that the prosecutor would produce scientific evidence and whether they would demand scientific evidence as a condition of a guilty verdict. Tables
Main Term(s): Jury decisionmaking; Televisions
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Convictions; Decisionmaking; Juries; Jury research; Media coverage; Pretrial publicity; Verdict prediction; Verdicts
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