HLN host Nancy Grace has been credited with making the Casey Anthony case a national story. She has been outspoken in her belief that Anthony is guilty of murdering her daughter, despite a jury's verdict. She's also a former prosecutor with strong opinions about what went on in the Florida courtroom in the past few weeks. She spoke with CNN.com about how she would have tried the case, the "CSI effect" on juries and why she doesn't "give a fig" about what Anthony's defense team thinks about her.
Grace: As I’ve always said since 1984, when I started trying cases, you win or lose your case - it’s all over at the end of voir dire (jury selection). I’ve always believed that. It’s true. I think this jury hamstrung the state. The state absolutely put up a good case and I get real fed up when I hear this is a circumstantial case. Most cases are circumstantial because rarely do people commit felony crimes in the open. Murder, armed robbery, you do it in private, in secret, so very rarely is there an eyewitness or direct evidence to a crime.
CNN: Watching a case like this, do you miss the courtroom and prosecuting cases?
Grace: I always miss the courtroom. I miss the courtroom all the time because the courtroom gave me immediate gratification. I knew I’d done something worthwhile when I put someone behind bars or represented crime victims, I knew I had a done a good thing by speaking for people who couldn’t speak for themselves. I don’t get that immediate gratification from being on TV.
CNN: As a former prosecutor, if you could retry this case, how would you do it differently?
Grace: I think they did such a very good job it’s hard to attack anything they did. I think maybe I would’ve taken a different tack in jury selection but that’s really it. There were some obvious problem jurors: You had one on there with an arrest for DUI; another with an arrest for drug paraphernalia; one whose sister and her boyfriend beat up their father; one juror who said she could not judge. Why the heck would you not want someone off the jury who cannot judge? The jury is the sole judge of facts, evidence and the law. Who the heck wants someone who can’t judge? They tried to get rid of them but were not successful. I think the jury was snakebitten from the get-go.
CNN: What do you think is the most important piece of evidence that the jury never saw or heard?
Grace: I don’t believe they saw all of the audiotapes or heard all the videotapes (of Casey Anthony’s jailhouse phone calls). I think the so-called bodyguard or bail bondsman had a lot to offer, his discussions with tot mom when she was referring to Caylee in the past tense before her body had been found, her being very flip about Caylee, being more concerned about a hot guy flirting with her on Facebook. Evidence of that nature.
There was another inmate that she allegedly discussed chloroform with, the fact there was absolutely an inmate who talked about a child floating in a pool in the backyard while the family was in the house … she lifted that story and transposed it onto Caylee. The fact that that inmate may not have had direct discussions with tot mom does not matter. … She did discuss it behind bars and within earshot of tot mom when they were in jail, on the cellblock at same time. I understand why the state didn’t do it, because when you start dealing with snitches and inmates it can blow up in your face.
CNN: What was the biggest weakness in the state’s forensic evidence, if any?
Grace: The single biggest weakness was the state didn’t have a cause of death. That is not required - there have been many, many cases with murder 1 convictions without any body. But the fact that the defendant can get rid of a body or let a body (be) hidden for so long that you cannot determine a cause of death is not a reason a defendant should get a benefit or a gold star or A-plus. I think the fact they didn’t have a cause of death hurt them because the jury could not understand the case or take it in. Juries have been watching too much "CSI" - they want murder weapon, DNA, fingerprints. In this case, there was no blood, no murder weapon. They wanted things that didn’t exist. They wanted a murder weapon – the murder weapon was tot mom’s hands. I also think the jury didn’t understand the law or felony murder. All said, it was a bad jury and I do not think it reflects on the case the state put up.
CNN: What did you think of the defense case? Did their experts neutralize the state’s experts?
Grace: I don’t think much of the defense case. However, when it gets so complex for jurors, the experts cancel themselves out.
CNN: How would you have handled Cindy Anthony? Should the state consider charging her with perjury?
Grace: I know she committed perjury but I don’t think a jury would convict her. I think that’s a very tough decision for authorities to make ... but no doubt what she said on the stand was not true.
CNN: People credit your involvement in highlighting the case early on. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Grace: The only thing I would’ve done differently is put on my hip boots and gone down to Florida and looked for Caylee myself.
CNN: What did you think of Cheney Mason’s statements that lawyers like yourself engaged in media assassination for the past three years?
Grace: I don’t recall him mentioning me by name but I think he’s more likely targeting local lawyers and members of the Florida bar who were discussing the case in the community. However, on the off chance he is, I really don’t give a fig. I mean, every time you take a stand on anything or stand up for anything, somebody’s going to dislike you and the fact that one of tot mom’s defense lawyers doesn’t like me doesn’t concern me in the least. I don’t like them much either.
CNN: Do you think it’s unethical for lawyers like yourself to make such pointed statements about a defendant’s guilt or innocence on national television?
Grace: Let me see, if I’m correct, the Constitution has a little thing called the First Amendment which allows for freedom of speech and under freedom of speech, unless it is defamatory, I’m pretty much allowed to speak my mind, and the fact I’m an upstanding member of the Georgia and D.C. bars does not cause me to lose my freedom of speech. As a matter of fact, if you were to read the minutes that were taken down as the Constitution was being written and passed, our fathers wanted courtrooms large enough for the whole community to sit in and see. No closed-door justice, no secret justice, and to me, that ensures a lively discourse about our justice system and what’s going on in the courtroom. So the answer to your question is no. I don’t consider discussing court cases unethical. In fact, I consider it healthy.
CNN: You have said that our system of justice requires us to respect the jury's decision, but since the verdict you have continued to maintain that Casey Anthony is guilty and that the jurors erred in their decision. When is it time to come to terms with the fact that the jurors disagreed with you and move on?
Grace: I’ve already come to grips with the fact they disagree with me, and I don’t agree with them. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with their decision. They were wrong: Tot mom murdered her daughter.
CNN: If you had access to the jurors, what would you ask them?
Grace: I would ask them why they did what they did. I’d like to know why. Not that it’s going to make any difference. There’s no way to explain their verdict, no logical way. Maybe that’s the problem. I’m trying to apply logic to people who were illogical in their jury deliberations.
CNN: Is there anything Casey Anthony can do to redeem herself? What would you like to see her do?
Grace: I’d like to see her admit she’s guilty and go to jail. Other than that, I’m not in the business of forgiving. That’s up to the lord. I’m just relieved that I believe, that I know, Caylee is in a place where her mother cannot hurt her anymore.
Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.
Jurors are not "judges of the law" Nancy. . . What else have you forgotten since practicing? Too bad you weren't around for the Salem witch trials. . . you really seem to know how to rev up a crowd out for blood. . .
Casey is innocent and i believe it was the father from the start and i emailed you months ago!! Leave her alone and wake up you americans!!! You only llike to put people who are innocent to death before you find out the facts. Look how many innocent people have already been put to death. You people make me sick and i am glad i am not a USA Citizen although my heritage and i am ashamed to say so. WAKE UP!!! POINT THE FINGER WHERE IT BELONGS AND STOP MAKING CASEY'S LIFE MISERABLE!!!!!!11
What a waste of air time. With so many more pressing things, the only thing that Nancy has done is created a media circus. Yes, this was a very big tragedy, but there are many more important and more worthwhile topics that she could spend her time on. She needs to go.
You, young lady, are a self opinionated, egotistical ,rude individual and have not nor will you change a bit. Shame on you. Don't know how you can continue to vilify so many people night after night.
Nancy Grace please hush! Once again you got it wrong!!!
Nancy, please please PLEASE help me....I've spent 3 years following this case. Helped with Texas Equiisearch etc. Shocked, frustrated, FURIOUS, disappointed, saddened and the list goes on. I'll never understand how the jury couldget it soo very wrong. There are endless replays of the tragiically unjust verdict. We can't change the verdict. But rather than spend hours and days criticizing the jury and all the players and the negative outcome, let's put all those hours and many more into working towards something POSITIVE. Pls tell me how we can prevent that murderer from profitting. You're so well known. Team up with Ashton. Work together to change the law so she and the likes of her will never profit. Or tell me how I can make a difference. PLEASE!!!
I agree with you Angie, there will never be justice for Caylee. Her killer is going to be set free. Casey has no heart or a soul..Any mother that can throw her little girl in the woods, walk away and go and do her thing to me is heartless. And I hope Jose Bias can live with the fact that he helped a murderer go free! Those 31 days will always haunt me. I can't wrap my mind around that. But one thing is for sure, she will have to stand before her maker one day, and her lies will have to stop...God Bless Caylee and may she rest in peace.
It's time for Nancy Grace to get off the air and into the treatment she so desperately needs. I saw a woman named Jennifer Ford, one of the jurors, on ABC tonight. She was smart, fair, level-headed, and most importantly, not a lunatic. I think she would do great as Nancy Grace's replacement.
Nancy is a man hater.
I agree with you, Nancy, 100%!!!
"Credited" with making this a national story?" How about "guilty of making it a national sleazefest?"
Nancy Grace has made her whole career out of this sad story and she reeks of yellow journalism more than anyone else on the national scene. The slobbering of the media over this story (with CNN leading the pack) has been disgusting. HLN actually had countdown clocks for every aspect of the damn trial replacing their usual time of day clock. Absolutely ridiculous and frankly embarrassing. I'm done with that network and pretty much done with CNN too.
White people are still stupid! GET A LIFE WHITE PEOPLE!!! Go raise your own damn kids! Go check on your Pedophile Priest, or something... Pray for him like you always do, yet you judge others. You forgive a child molestor of your own kids, but find time to judge others... Get an F'n Life!!!
You are a moron. Go cash your welfare check so you can feed your kids...or whatever you all do with the money we give you!
Duke Lacrosse, enough said.
Just some observations on this interview. Obvious problem jurors- Welcome to mankind, if it wasn't DUI, drug paraphernalia and a fight (none of which was a conviction by the sound of it) then it would be traffic tickets and detention in school. Being within earshot of a conversation- really that's evidence in her book? can't imagine what kind of crimes i'm linked to for eating out at restaurants. Juries watching to much CSI? FOR REAL! Wouldn't it be ironic if the jurors were avid N.G. viewers? I guess our television viewing will be questioned during jury selection should she have any say in it. "Put on my hip boots.....and looked for Caylee myself"- Why the hip boots NG? if you cared so much, that desk in front of you and the money you make wouldn't have mattered and you would have done it. Seems you're a bit more into keeping up that hype, at least that what the FACTS seem to scream.
I believe she is guilty in some way...but it was not proven at all in court, I watched the trial everyday. Prosecution did not prove anything...just speculated. (horrible job) I have watched Nancy Grace for a long time, even when little Caylee was "missing" The Jury spoke and it is done...no going back, but Nancy will not let it alone....she is stirring everyone up, I no longer have any respect for her. I just wish everyone would let it go....nothing anyone can do at this point. Little Caylee will get justice but not by our hands. "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," says English jurist William Blackstone. The ratio 10:1 has become known as the "Blackstone ratio." Lawyers "are indoctrinated" with it "early in law school." In the fantasies of legal academics, jurors think about Blackstone routinely"
For the record, I cannot stand Nancy Grace and dream of the day in which CNN decides that she needs to retire. The woman is an obnoxious, ambulance chasing, rumor monger.
I want to know how Nancy Grace got her hands on all the supposed personal dirt of these jurors and just exactly how she knows its true.
Casey Anthony is anticipating getting out of jail tomorrow. Already has ads on Craigslist, wants to work as a Nanny, she just loves kids so much.
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