The CSI Effect: Is It Perception or Is It Reality?

Open Access
Agnew, Kristin Marie
Graduate Program:
Criminal Justice
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 27, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Anne Sumner Douds, Thesis Advisor
  • CSI effect
  • jury decision-making
  • judges
  • forensic evidence
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a “CSI effect” by which a juror’s exposure to scripted television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences individual decision making. There is no (or very little) empirical data to establish that this alleged effect occurs in courtroom settings. Semi-structured interviews with trial court judges, a district attorney, a public defender, and a county coroner in Pennsylvania were conducted to explore whether the CSI effect is perceived to be a phenomenon and, if so, how these criminal justice practitioners perceive its influence on the operation of the courts, jury decision-making, and the execution of justice.