Everyone is familiar with the CSI series. Heck, I'm a big fan! However, reality is nothing like the fantasy we see portrayed nightly on shows like Law & Order and CSI. These shows have distorted the public's perception of the criminal process and forensic investigations. We're programmed to think that interactions between the prosecutor and defense attorney are filled with hostility and constant “back stabbing” maneuvers. We think the police labs are infallible and immune from mistakes; that every investigator carries around fancy lights that can spot blood spatter evidence and laptops that spit out answers to the question of “who did it?”
Reality is far less glamorous than what we see on television. Take for instance an article just released titled: The Real CSI: How America's Patchwork System of Death Investigations puts the Living at Risk. I've linked the article for you to review. To put it bluntly, the various state pathology departments throughout the US are in a shambles. Many are operated by lay persons and doctors who couldn't pass their board examinations. These people make the ultimate decisions as to cause of death, which can be problematic for you if you've been charged with murder or manslaughter.
Perhaps you are one of the millions of people that believe the police always get the right guy and the forensics analysis is top notch and nearly infallible. People make mistakes and many times, people (read forensic scientists) testify for motivations other than the truth. Our legal history is riddled with instances of people being wrongly accused and convicted based on inaccurate eye witness testimony, junk science such as tool marks and ballistics, fabricated evidence and evidence that is misinterpreted by the state labs. It is a real and growing problem that is only exacerbated by the CSI myth; that the people running these labs are infallible and the results produced are beyond reproach. I've attached two excellent articles for you to review that deal with problems with our Medical Examiners offices as well as major problems uncovered at the “famed” FBI forensic labs in Virginia. Read on for more details… http://www.propublica.org/article/the-real-csi-americas-patchwork-system-of-death-investigation http://www.crimemagazine.com/tainting-evidence-inside-scandals-fbi-crime-lab www.propublica.org/article/the-real-csi-americas-patchwork-system-of-death-investigation