Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More on the real CSI - there aren't even resources to solve the notorious cases

Here's an oversimplification of the CSI effect - based upon television shows, jurors expect that police departments submit every case to every forensic method, and get the results immediately. Want to catch a jaywalker? Go to the street pole that the jaywalker leaned on, then dust for fingerprints and get DNA analysis and examine fibers and send the webcam results through facial recognition. Within 30 minutes.

Obviously this is unrealistic. Government agencies are always cash-strapped, and agencies need to concentrate their resources on the most serious cases.

Just to cite an example, most of us have probably heard of Ted Bundy, who was convicted of three murders. Bundy's case was so notorious that Mark Harmon portrayed Bundy in a 1986 TV movie.

Now it turns out that Bundy is suspected of committing other murders, so the real-life CSIs have added Bundy's DNA to the FBI's CODIS DNA database, in hopes of finding other victims of Bundy.

When was Bundy's DNA added to CODIS? Just recently.

If it takes a quarter century to add Ted Bundy's DNA to a database, don't expect your assailant's DNA to be added to a database any time soon.
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