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The “CSI” Effect in New Jersey [AUDIO]

Believe it or not, many jurors involved in homicide cases in New Jersey think everything they see on TV shows like “CSI” is real.

TEK IMAGE/SPL, Getty Images

“That’s actually hurting some jury trials because jurors are asking for crazy technology that doesn’t exist- they think it exists because they watch “CSI,’” says Detective Sgt. Jim McGowan of the New Jersey State Police.

He says a significant percentage of people sitting on juries watch crime dramas.

“They have some pre-conceived notions of what abilities we have. It leads them to ask some questions sometimes of detectives, of our crime scene detectives. ‘Did you do this because I saw it on TV,’ when that technology doesn’t exist.”

Rod Englert, a crime scene expert and re-constructionist, says many people don’t understand that instant DNA analysis isn’t real.

“Special lighting – alternate light sources that don’t even exist that do all kinds of spinning and colors and things – that doesn’t happen.”

He says what solves cases in the real world is hard work, and it takes time.

“It’s all about the patterns. Whether it’s a shooting, you can determine that. Whether it’s a beating, you can determine that from the blood patterns,” he says.

“The key to being a successful homicide investigator is taking your time, using other resources to help you instead of getting tunnel- visioned. It’s not like what you see on television – it’s laborious, it takes time.

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