Published: March 30, 2010
Audrey Lindeman ’13 can’t get enough of those crime show dramas she sees on TV.
criminology major has been fascinated by them since high school. As her
knowledge of the industry increases the deeper she gets into her
studies at UT, the more fascinated she becomes with the shows, wondering
how accurate the dramas really are.
“I’m an avid CSI watcher
and have the board game and watch all the spin offs,” Lindeman
confessed. “I knew the show wasn’t accurate, but I was surprised by the
other professionals who think it’s a poor portrayal of the real thing.”
when Associate Professor Tony LaRose assigned his Introduction to
Criminal Justice class with an end-of-semester paper, Lindeman didn’t
think twice. She wanted to study the CSI Effect.
“The CSI Effect
is a courtroom phenomenon where jurors have seen CSI shows and expect
their case to proceed in the same way,” Lindeman said, referring to the
way evidence is collected, the technology used, even the interactions
between those collecting evidence. Results don’t pop up on high-tech
screens minutes within their collections. Crime labs often need updated
equipment, and some methods shown on television are purely nonexistent
“There is a higher acquittal rate because people
expect that kind of (theatrical) forensics in the courtroom,” said
Lindeman who is majoring in criminology with a minor in law and justice.
“It’s shocking to see how the show affects who gets off and who
doesn’t. It’s an interesting project.”
Lindeman, who is from
Indialantic, Fla., had her research paper completed within days of the
assignment, a sign to LaRose that she would be perfect to work with on a
bigger research project, CSI: Fact or Fiction.
classmates Morgan Tanafon, Ashley Moreland, Cecily Wood, Sabrina Narain
and Mellorie Garcia, Lindeman has interviewed a whole genre of crime
scene investigators, from Orlando lawyers to Tampa police officers to
most recently, a forensic artist with the Miami-Dade Police Department.
learn a lot from a classroom, but it doesn't compare to taking a hands
on approach to whatever it is you’re researching and putting skills
learned into action,” said Moreland ’10, who joined Lindeman and Wood
March 26 in Miami for a behind-the scenes look at the Miami crime lab.
of sitting at a computer doing research the whole time, I am able to go
out and gather the information first hand,” said Moreland, a
Lindeman and LaRose should have their data
collected by the end of the semester, in time for them to co-author and
present a paper with the findings at the Southern Criminal Justice
Association conference in the fall. They hope to publish the paper soon
after and have a long-term plan to study the CSI Effect in Mexico or
Colombia to get an international perspective.
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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