There's an interesting article in U.S. News & World Report this week about the so-called CSI effect
, where juries are demanding forensic evidence that makes the defendant's guilt an absolute certainty. For what it's worth, I haven't seen any evidence of it here in Texas. Our local police won't even fingerprint a gun or a baggie containing drugs to verify their assertion that the defendant was the one holding them. Juries still convict over and over again on the officer's word alone. Personally, I think the theory of the article is pretty shoddy. It's not supported by any evidence--just anecdotal stories with prosecutors whining about how they didn't win. Nor is there a single comment from a defense attorney about any great wins they've gotten due to the CSI effect. But the latter half of the article about all the shoddy forensic science out there is definitely worth a read. On that issue, look for a future post from me soon about my forensic "scientist" hall of shame. There are a ton of charlatans out there and the prisons and death rows around the country are full of people they put there on shoddy evidence.