American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 47, Issues 1-2, 4-7


Copyright © 2011 American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Anyone who has been to a crime lab or experienced the presentation of forensic evidence in open court knows that there is a disconnect between the way forensic science is depicted on popular television programs and the reality of criminal investigations. The number of forensically themed television shows and popular entertainment has exploded over the last decade, and shows such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and its related spin-offs are among the most popular shows in North America. Indeed, CSI is consistently among the top ten shows in a given week, and CSI: Miami was rated the most popular television show in the world in 2005. These and other television crime dramas, “true life” crime shows, and popular books have piqued interest in the power of forensic analysis to solve crimes. This has not remained in the fictional realm. Recently, newspapers and television news programs have focused on new forensic techniques, and frequently focus on the importance of forensic evidence presented in real life trials for convicting the guilty.