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County Attorney Says TV Tainting Viewers, Jurors on Forensic Evidence

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is tired of forensic television shows tainting jurors and creating unrealistic demands for forensic evidence.

Thomas wants shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS and Law and Order on NBC to flash disclaimers, saying defendants are not automatically innocent if there is a lack of physical or forensic evidence.

“These shows are affecting jury preconceptions that are taken into jury deliberations,” Thomas said.

A survey of 102 prosecutors found 38 percent believe they’ve had at least one acquittal or hung jury when forensic evidence was unavailable to corroborate testimony. Prosecutors call it the “CSI Effect.”

But defense attorney¬†David Michael Cantor said prosecutors always tell jurors that scientific evidence doesn’t lie.

“Now, they don’t want a lack of it to be perceived as reasonable doubt.”

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