American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 47, Issues 1-2, page 2


Copyright © 2011 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


This special issue of Court Review focuses on media matters. One provocative question related to media is the purported impact of an iconic television show, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), on the judicial process. In the past few years, it has been frequently suggested, especially in the media, that judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and jurors have become influenced by CSI. The allegation is that the “CSI-effect” has resulted in an expectation that forensic evidence is required for successful criminal prosecutions. But is there (apologies to Gertrude Stein) a there there? Three articles in the special issue examine the so-called CSI-effect. Professors Steven Smith, Veronica Stinson, and Marc Patry of Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) find evidence there is, but they wonder whether the effect is not a juror-problem but rather manifests itself in the ways that attorneys behave. Judge Donald Shelton (also an adjunct professor, Thomas Cooley Law School and Eastern Michigan University) and his colleagues, Professors Gregg Barak and Young Kim (Eastern Michigan University), have found something is going on, but suggest it is a “tech effect” rather than a specific effect of television shows such as CSI or Law and Order. Professors Cole (University of California, Irvine) and Dioso-Villa (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) are skeptical but provide valuable guidance for protecting the judicial system against any impacts from real or imagined effects.