Frontline asks, “Is forensic evidence reliable?”

Frontline recently aired a show that investigates the so-called CSI Effect – the idea that the proliferation of depictions of forensic science in film and TV has led to inaccurate expectations by the general public. The video is embedded below, but first, some excerpts from an interview with a federal judge on his opinion of forensic science:

Harry T. Edwards is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and an authority on forensic science. He was a primary author of a landmark 2009 National Academy of Sciences report that called into question the scientific validity of many common forensic techniques. “We assumed there might be mistakes,” says Judge Edwards, “but I don’t think that we had been forewarned in any way that there were the serious problems that the committee uncovered…”

“In an adversarial system, once you decide to go to trial, your interest is in prevailing. So you’re not looking to make it easier for the other side. You’re not going to find scientific truth in the adversarial process. That work has got to be done by the scientists.”


Watch The Real CSI on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.