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.
Well Well, I see that every one here wants there opinion heard, but does not want to hear Nancy's – well then TURN YOUR DAMN CHANNEL – I followed the case, because I felt it in my bones she killed her daughter. I feel she used her trunk for a babysitting service, then found the child dead. But she did it.. As I was following the case, I also felt she was going to get off, because the defense was good, with there cross and there witness. So sad that a beautiful child lost her life.... GO Nancy, I am with you 110% !!!!
Nancy Grace + Glen Beck ...... A match set, made for each other
Im part of the small group that still believes that people are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW....
wow...how many STUPID people live in the USA??? IF you are ever on the "other" side of the law then you will thank your God that the system works the way it does. We need to let the guilty go sometimes...to protect the truly innocent...from people like you.
To quote the Georgia Supreme Court about Nancy Graces's misconduct as an attorney, "the conduct of the prosecuting attorney in this case demonstrated her disregard of the notions of due process and fairness, and was inexcusable."
I think that pretty much succinctly sums it up. She quit law because she couldn't just keep running her mouth. Not the sharpest of tools, but still a tool, to not learn that lesson in oh-so-many years.
I swear she's Dr. Phil in drag.
dear Nancy uses the first amendment as a club, but then forgets our basic legal tenet: innocent until PROVEN guilty.
Nancy Grace is the worst that journalism has to offer. She doesn't really believe in the the justice system at all. She convicts every accused person before the trial even begins. What a figgin looser.
Nancy Grace is a D bag but what's a "looser"?
She's not a journalist moron. She is a former prosecuter and current legal commentator.
You are absolutely right about Nancy Grace. She's *awful* and offers nothing of value to me as a consumer of news (I mean really . . . "tot mom"??). I turn off the news anymore when she shows up.
I completely agree. This interview is incredibly hypocritical. If she believes in the justice system she should respect the courts decision. Instead she is trying rile people up for .... what exactly? They can't have a re-trial. The defense won, the prosecution lost (however you want to cut it).
While a lot of people fell that Casey had something to do with her daughters death (myself included) there is no way we can prove it. Innocent till PROVEN guilty. Don't like it, move to Afghanistan because ours is the best system out there.
CNN is a perfect home for her!
Check out the Wiki article about Nancy Grace under the section "prosecutorial misconduct" and read what it has to say. Some things I guess never change.
Wiki is not a great source of Data, but I would believe anything today. On the same token, she does not get paid to be right or to say the truth she get paid to have people seeing her and seein the network, I saw three years ago in Irak and did not saw it again, thanks to her I was able to catch up on my reading. But anyhow, she seems to be like Howard Stern some poeple like her, others hate her, but all for some reason watch her, maybe there is no goo tv at that time. Maybe they should make show together and have an intelligent debate... sure people will watch that too.
To Nancy Grace everyone is guilty until proven her rateings have gone up. Too bad she's so mad all the time, she's becomming the poster child for hate. Now with her comment " she doesn't agree with the jury" sounds like she's telling the public to go after Tot-mom and harm her, I think she should say she's sorry on her next show or be held libel for her words.
I think that is a pretty large stretch. She merely said that she thinks the jury got it wrong. I remember A LOT of people saying that when OJ got off. Saying you think someone who was found not guilty was guilty does not mean you are calling for peple to harm said defendant.
God bless you Nancy, for being the voice for the blessed little angels like Caylee, You will surely have a place in Heaven.
Nancy Grace is the voice of her own pocketbook.
More like a place in Satans Concubine but he would kick her sorry ass out.
I know Nancy inside and out, and believeme, i can tell you that she is truly interested in justice here, and not ratings. I suggested a much better approach would be that she perform live oral on a twelve inch one, and charge – pay per view. But no! And hence, her ratings, much like her bottom, are sagging.
I truly laughed out loud at this comment. I'd pay to see that. LOL
why is everyone talking about oral when it come to nancy? Just asking
she does have kimky eyes....
Funny, that is the one thing I do not want. Yuck.
you have to remember one thing nancy grace is in the entertainment busness, she depends on rateings enough said
NG better be careful. If she continues to say that Casey is a murderer despite being found not guilty I don't see why she couldn't be sued by Casey for slander or liable.
She cannot be sued for stating her opinion about a criminal defendant. Try again.
just because a child murderer is found not guityby a stupid crooked jury don,t mean shes innoncent.freedom of speech shes a heartless murderer and that jury was corupt!sue me i,m really worried!
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