Apr. 11, 2012 at 7:23pmThe Real CSI

Frontline Program Premieres Next Week

Are you a fan of the popular CSI TV series? If so you may want to catch this Frontline program on Tuesday, April 17 at 9p.m. on KSPS in Spokane.

"The Real CSI" promises to tell us how reliable, or unreliable, the science behind forensics really is. 

According to Frontline, it finds serious flaws in some of the best-known tools of forensic science and wide inconsistencies in how forensic evidence is presented in the courtrooms of America.


The program is a collaboration between Frontline, ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

Lowell Bergman hosts this show that takes a look at the sensational murder trial of Casey Anthony to the credentialing of forensic experts. We already know how few uniform standards there are in this field.

The investigation started over a landmark study done by the National Academy of Sciences that questioned the basis of forensic science.

The program examines the high-profile case of Brandon Mayfield, the attorney who was wrongfully identified and arrested as a suspect in the Madrid commuter train bombings after the FBI wrongly matched his fingerprint to a partial print found at the scene. The Mayfield case illuminated the weak link in fingerprint analysis – the examiner, whose work is not done by a computer, as seen on TV, and can be influenced by unconscious bias.

The show also demonstrates that bite-mark identification is another one of several seriously flawed forensic tools used in criminal investigations.

The cases that were investigated for the program illustrate that convictions based on these forensic techniques are often faulty and have resulted in a whole groups of forensic specialists simply being wrong.  

"The Real CSI" is part of an ongoing look at forensic science that has engaged Frontline and its partners over the past two years.

Check it out next week on Tuesday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on KSPS in Spokane. 

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