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  Posted on: Friday, July 6, 2012
Queens, New York Prosecutor Analyzes how TV's "CSI" Affects Jurors
Do jurors who regularly watch the television show "CSI" have warped expectations for what evidence can and should be collected, thereby hurting prosecutors' chances to convict criminals? Marjory Fisher, chief of the Queens district attorney's office's Special Victims Bureau, attempted to answer the question when she spoke to a group of sexual assault forensic examiners, who collect evidence from a victim who has been raped, and social workers at Elmhurst Hospital Center June 27. Fisher's talk centered around how the hit crime show and its numerous spin-offs, which revolve around forensic scientists solving crimes, blur scientific fact with science fiction. At the same time she stressed the importance of SAFE examiners and social workers in convicting rapists and other criminals. "It's a fascinating subject, and it's something that worried me for a long time," Fisher said. Fisher said prosecutors have long wondered about how shows like "CSI" and "Law & Order" have affected jurors' views on what evidence should or must be available to convict someone. She said these shows sometimes portray false or ludicrous ways of collecting evidence, such as identifying a killer from the picture of the reflection in a victim's eye or finding the blood of a criminal in a mosquito. "I find them really aggravating," Fisher said of the shows, "because a lot of times they manipulate the facts to the story they want to tell." But more pervasive are the mistaken assumptions that science can solve every case, that forensic evidence exists in every case or that forensic tests take seconds and are available immediately. The shows also portray a handful of investigators working on all aspects of one case, when in reality multiple agencies handle many different aspects of a case.
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