The CSI Effect.

Maybe you watch CSI, or its gorier spinoff, CSI: Miami (motto: Cleavage and Cut Up Corpses!). Apparently the show is having some real-world side effects:

‘CSI’ Effect on Potential Jurors Has Some Prosecutors Worried – December 19, 2002 – Entertainment News – Al Menconi Ministries

An enviable array of real and not-so-real technologies and gadgets are at the disposal of the carefully coifed “CSI” gumshoes as they investigate slain strippers, kidnapped wives of millionaires and maggot-covered bodies found in the Las Vegas desert: DNA analysis; mass spectrometers to test chemical compositions; Luminol, a chemical test causing invisible traces of blood to emit a telegenic blue glow.

There are no real-life budget constraints: Every case gets the full-court press of available tests. There are no time lags for DNA results. Almost no courtrooms or juries either.

Faced with the weight of trace evidence, suspects usually confess.

Case closed.

In one particularly improbable plot line, for example, the intrepid “CSI” investigators are able to find the man who slaughtered a blacklisted sex worker in a snuff video by proving through DNA analysis that her final spurts of blood infected him with HIV – something local DNA experts say just isn’t done. That, however, was only after they’d used video enhancement of the motel-room encounter to discern that the killer had a telltale mole on his neck and to make out a crucial landmark outside the motel room window that allowed them to pinpoint its location using triangulation. Analysis of dirt lodged in the tires of the killer’s car led them to the victim’s body.

Apparently real-life prosecutors are being held to an impossibly high standard because of “The CSI Effect.”

Courtesy of Andrew at the BoingBoing guest blog.