November 22, 2011
The CSI Effect
The Maryland Court of Appeals has reversed a conviction for sexual assault and assault because the court gave a so-called "anti-CSI effect" jury instruction.
The court was unpersuaded that the TV show has created a phenonenon that permits the use of such an instruction absent some need to cure "pre-existing overreaching by the defense...." The instruction "is fraught with potential for reversible error" and may diminish the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The instruction advises a jury that "there is no legal requirement that the State utilize any specific investigative technique or scientific test to prove its case."
The court may revisit the issue if scholarly research establishes that there is a CSI effect. (Mike Frisch)
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