Everybody loves those dazzling displays of forensics on Law and Order when Ice-T spots a hair at a crime scene and takes it back to the lab to process through the database containing the DNA of every single human on the planet. However, that's not how forensic science actually works. In fact, that kind of scenework assumes said "science" works at all, while in reality forensic methods are far from foolproof. Jurors (and even judges) have been falling victim to the "CSI effect" since procedural crime dramas rose to prominence in the early 2000s.
Forensics in real life compared to forensics on CSI suffer from a major discrepancy: while jurors generally accept such evidence as absolute fact in both cases, only in one is it absolute. It may seem cool when Mark Harmon determines the killer from a blood spatter, but such evidence is as subjective as a Rorschach test, only with much graver consequences.
That's why it's important to examine the dangers of forensic science brought about by the weird and fantastic cases on CSI (though sometimes real life can be stranger than fiction, as seen in these creepy forensic cases).
The 'CSI-Effect' Has Made Average Television Viewers Think They're Forensics ExpertsPhoto: CSI/CBS
Juries Have Unrealistic Expectations About DNA EvidencePhoto: Law & Order/NBC
There Are No Digital Systems That Process Forensic Evidence In An InstantPhoto: NCIS/CBS
Bite Mark Forensics Are Coming To Be Seen As Flawed, Often Resulting In False Convictions
Even Forensic Scientists Are Subject To Inherent BiasesPhoto: Law & Order/NBC
Forensic Scientists Are Very Vulnerable To Confirmation BiasPhoto: CSI/CBS