In this “Young Minds and Students of Today” article, Jessica F, a 16 year old student, is the featured writer. In case you missed it, here is part 1. We Pick up on part 2 of ‘Everyone’s an Expert: Do You Have CSI Syndrome?’
However, the CSI effect can also be positive. In one case in Virginia, jurors asked the judge if a cigarette butt had been tested for possible DNA matches to the defendant in a murder trial. It had, but the defence lawyers had failed to introduce the DNA test results as evidence. When they did those results exonerated the defendant, who was acquitted.
Juries have been deluded by suave television programs where complicated scientific processes take a matter of seconds rather than a realistic time period. Picture this, a middle aged woman is sat alone in a fast-food diner in California, she is tucking in to a bowl of chilli, each bite is more delicious than the last. She chews, savouring in the exquisite flavours, but then, something is wrong. She spits, she screams, the woman vomits. All eyes in the diner now focus in on the table where a well-manicured fingertip now peaks out from a bowl of masticated chilli.
Loud sirens, forensic experts trawl the area, the spot covered ‘fry cooks’ are lined up, fingers are pointed, fingers are counted and the nub is placed into a sealed evidence bag. The fingerprint is run through IAFIS (Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System), DNA tests are taken and detectives search for clues.
If this had been an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation- and it might well become one – an attractive Special Agent would sweep the area for evidence, a fingerprint would be taken and matched within 30 minutes. The victim a beautiful twenty-two year old would be found. Then the unexpected twist, a trace of blood under the fingernail would lead the investigation team to her killer: a jealous fashion photographer unwilling to let go of his star. All of this wrapped up within a neat hour bundle.
But this isn’t CSI, this is real life, and last year Anna Ayala reported her disturbing find at Wendy’s restaurant, and investigators are still stumped (pun intended). The fingerprint didn’t match anyone in the system, DNA tests came back fruitless. On CBS’ CSI, results are fast, sexy and remarkably certain, propelling CSI and similar shows such as NCIS to the top of the viewing charts, bringing in around 140 million viewers a week, making it the most popular television network in the world…
Part 3 in a few more days.