CSI Effect

Posted by RescueJoe RescueJoe
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Hello all

I am seeking out some advise on an issue. We all have heard of the CSI Effect, and all the problems in court it causes.

What about for us officers on the street. Ever have a victim tell you that you are "doing it wrong" or that you "need" to do some TV fiction test? I am collecting some stories for training purposes, so if this has happened to you (or a co worker) can you email me rescuejoe(at)Gmail.com. Also this is for training so any info on how you responded to the person. How did they take it. What would you suggest as best practice when this happens...

Thanks
Joe

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NFA_23 NFA_23
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Re: CSI Effect

I have faced this issue a few times, but nothing major. No one has told me that I am doing something wrong, but some people have asked "can't you do this or that". In all of those situations that I have been in, I have been able to explain in fairly technical, and honest, terms about why I am doing it this way or that. That seems to end their arguments pretty quick. On the few times I have seen this, the person is very eager to watch what I do, and they are usually pretty excited about seeing this stuff up close, so when I explain my point of view, they ususally eat that up too.

Our prosecutors have been very pro-active with us in court about focusing on jurors and trying to be prepared for the CSI effect. Rather than waiting for the Defense Attorney to ask us why we did not do things, our Prosecutors will ask us on Direct, and give us plenty of time to make sure we explain why we did not do simple things. Like, "Why didn't you process the bag with the drugs in it for fingerprints?" ....uuuhhh because our officer saw it in the defendant's hands before he threw it down on the ground, and we generally don't process evidence when our officers sees who was in possession of it....duhhh....

A few years ago, one of our surrounding agencies lost a case in court because very few forensic investigation was done, (it wasn't really needed for this case, it was fairly open and shut), but the prosecutors and officers never explained that they did not do any of it for a very good reason. The defense attorney did not even mention any of it either, until his closing argument, and that is what the jurors based their decision on. Now, we go way out of our way to explain the simple things.
Wilson CSI Wilson CSI
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Re: CSI Effect

In reply to this post by RescueJoe
There was one case I know of that captures the CSI Effect.  

There was an armed robbery that occurred.  The suspect walked up to the victim pulled a gun and took the money from the victim's pocket.  The suspect made no attempt to conceal his identity.  The victim in this case knew the suspect.  The victim was the same age as the suspect.  Grew up and played together.  Went to school together. They were even distant relatives.  The police took this info and made an arrest.  

The case with to trial and the victim took the stand and repeated what he told the officers.  Grew up with the suspect. Played with the suspect as a child and were distant relatives.  

The jury found the suspect.....Not Guilty.  

The reason behind the verdict was that a couple of the jury members watched a recent episode of CSI and saw that they were able to lift a print off of a person's pants.  They thought the police should have processed the victim's pants to find the suspects prints in the pocket when he took the money out.  
Shannon Marie Shannon Marie
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Re: CSI Effect

In reply to this post by RescueJoe
LOL,
Drives you nuts don't it?
I get hit with all of the junk rolling off the TV train all the time. What about the ones that think they can earn a degree about what they see on TV? I'm sure I never want to work with someone that got into CSI because they used to (or still do) watch a show on TV and think it is in any way relevant to real life.
Sighs,
What can a gal do?
Shannon Marie