Forensics and the Media: The Affects of Forensics on Television on the American Juror

David N. Khey, University of Florida

In contemporary times, a myriad of forensic sciences exploded onto the scene that parallels the ferocity of technological advancement, thus expanding our capacity to increase the objectivity and accuracy of criminal investigations. Parallel to this phenomenon is a vast public intrigue that has been increasing just as feverously -- as marked by increased lip service in the media, the development and proliferation of television dramas with forensic science services as its primary premise, and the expansion of secondary and post-secondary educational courses and degrees in the forensic sciences. Unfortunately, there is an uncertain amount of misinformation that may have a very strong influence on our criminal justice system in various ways, particularly in the portrayals of the forensic sciences on television. In the criminal justice system, jurors perhaps are the most susceptible to use this misinformation in their decision making. This project seeks to identify the problematic portrayals of the forensic sciences, to describe the influence it has on the American juror, and to determine if this phenomenon has any detrimental effect on the jury trial system.

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Updated 05/20/2006