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.
Nancy Grace started ripping Case Anthony 3 years ago just to get the ratings. She knows it would heap in the ratings and she continued to MISREPRESENT any facts in the case just to do so. During the Anthony trial she constantly relayed incorrect information to her viewers from the trial, again for her ratings. She did the same thing during the Michael Jackson trial, constantly misrepresented the facts from the trial and called him a child molester during the trial. She's not respectable as a lawyer any longer and is no better than those she accuses of lying so much.
Remember Melinda Duckett who was villified to death by Nancy Disgrace in 2006. She is just a mean spirited bitter old woamn. Can't undertand why Nancy defends the child molestor? Why do you think he had to pull out the duct tape and do the dead pet routine on Caylee. Casey would have met the same fate is she reported Caylee's death and a timely autopsy was to be done on Caylee. George could not afford to have Caylee's body examined for foreign DNA!
I enjoyed reading your post but it leads me to ask further questions. Mainly "Does todays press have any accountability, leagually?" Nancy Grace has slandered people, lied about evidence, misrepresented the truth....ect. Are there no laws or regulations that can be imposed upon her, can she not be held asccountiable for her actions. Just looking away for me does not work. Why cant the public do something about her and others in the media?
I love Nancy Grace, can't wait to see her on Bill O'R,Monday. 3 years ago never missed a night with Nancy Grace, she had case solved. It was boring to watch trial this year, all repeat of what Nancy knew.They waited to long, to many young people on jury for first time high profile case, Casey should of talked 50 percent of time to spill her beans.To much evidence for 12 on jury to over look, they should of watched Doc Drew interview tonight with blond woman , who lived in the Anthonys home 3 years ago, when Casey got released by Bounty Hunter. If those 12 would of watched Nancy 3 years ago, they could of pieced the evidence together.Who killed Caylee, we want justice!!!!!!!!!
Completely agree with everything you say Nancy!! Very well spoken. Casey Anthony is 100% guilty and the jurors allowed for a GUILTY woman to be set free. Good luck in life Casey- Karma comes around
I agree with you 100%.
I 100% agree with Cathy. Nancy Grace is an instigator of the worst kind. I am not surprised she no longer practices law, she probably was disbarred due to her big mouth and the fact that everone is guilty until proven innocent. She and Glenn Beck is the reason I do not watch HLN, if they both were put in a boat neither one would fall out, they are equally disgusting.
I think maybe Casey turned down the visit with her Mother because some kind of way this would have been turned into more than just a Mother coming to visit her daughter in jail. Casey has been tried by a Jury of her peers and was found "Not Guilty" if the media, namely, Nancy the big mouth Grace, would stop sensationalizing the verdict the crazies who are threatening Cindy, George, Casey and the Jurors would slither back under their rocks from whence they came. To discredit the Jury the way Nancy did is just utterly disrespectful and just plain stupid. There are so many other things going on in this world worth daily reporting other than the Casey Anthony verdict. The media is becoming so disgusting with their crap especially, Tot Mom Nancy Grace.
WELL DOES ANYONE REMEMBER DANILLE VAN DAMM ...
THE COWARD OF A MAN THAT TOOK HER GOT THE DEATH PENALTY AND THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW SHE DIED
THEY FOUND THAT BABY ON A ROAD DECOMPOSING TOO POOR LITTL GIRL I WILL ALWAYS REMEBER HER
Remember Melissa Duckett. the 21 year old mother who agreed to be interviewed by Nancy in 2006? the young woman was so insulted, battered, mauled and villified by Nancy Disgrace that she commited suicide. Nancy is just a mean spirited inulting disgraceful bitter old woman! WITH NO RESPECT FOR THE LAW!
Can't somebody send her to Fox with the rest of the liars?
That is ridiculous. There are liars everywhere it is not right for you to bash one news network. Every channel does it and if the American public doesnt like it then stop watching. The "liars" cannot exist without viewers.
Emily, there is nothing wrong with reporting it, but Nancy Grace takes it to a another level, she tries, convicts, and sentences the accused daily on her ridiculous show. She had William Balfore, (the person of interest in the Jennifer Hudson's family murders) guilty of those murders, guess what? He didn't do it. I would be willing to bet my right arm that when she was a prosecutor she covered up and hid mountains of evidence that could have exonerated numerous people that she sent to prison anyway!
This is just absurd.
I posted a comment over an hour and a half ago. There's nothing more annoying than believing what blogs say about having your say and then not having it.
Nancy Grace is so evil that I actually hate her. If she has her way she will execute everyone on earth
on "perceived crimes". Notice her facial expressions ? Gestapo. What people do for $ $$. Sheer greed.
What kind of parents raise a monster like her ?
Listen Ben, Nancy Grace is an advocate for children. Unless you know everything about this case, or have been watching Nancy for over 10 years you have NO OPINION. Get a life. DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN
Nancy Disgrace can't help it ... but why is she now a fan of child molestors with duct tape. George should put some DUCT TAPE OVER NANCY's MOUTH, and DUCT TAPE HIS OWN PANTS UP!
Hahah who did you hear the molestation thing from? OH right, the mother who didn't report her child missing for 31 days. Thought so. Whether the case was and accident or she murdered her daughter. She knew where the body was and didnt say a word, just let people keep searching for her. Any idea why? Because there was no accident to begin with. She was hiding the murder of her precious two year old daughter. The fact that Nancy is willing to speak about it on national television is a relief when every one is in denial. I cant wait to hear about Casey Anthony's version of "if I DID IT" and then watch her get thrown back in jail. She is a disgraceful, disgusting criminal.
George's unfenced pool. Can't report to authorities as my semen in Caylee will be discovered, Better get out the duct tape or else I may get fingered for molestation the 35 month old, and if you Casey say a word, you'll end up in the swamp too!
Nancy Grace you are so pathetically self righteous.......it's hard to take. You are a joke.
I agree with nancy grace casey is guilty n little beautiful caylee is in a better place where she can't b harm... on another note karme is a bee
What a disgusting excuse for a human you are Nancy Grace. Spewing your hate and overinflated opinions with such an authorative tone. You are no better than the people you vilify and your opinion is just that. Get over yourself!
Excuse me, what are you doing?
We just need to stop watching Nancy Grace and make her irrelevant.
Ben: Don't hate Nancy Disgrace. Life is too short. She can't help it if she is bitter and mean-spirited to all ... and it's not just because she is a Baptist Christian (you'd never know she was Christian by the way she treats the least of her bretheren or her sisters). She has had some tragedies in her life. I think she means well but just has a bias that does not let her see both sides of a story. Her perspective is very narrow with her blinder on. Sadly, she seems to be just getting more bitter and offensive every day/ Don't know whether she does it for ratings or dollars, but it sure takes a toll on her, SHe has aged tremendously since the Melinda Duckett scandal in 2006.
Read some comments about the "Beautiful Life" tattoo being incriminating. I think of U2 and beautiful day. I think of Pro-Life Groups that talk about the value of each child's life being valued. I think of tattoos that spouses and children and parents have put on there bodies re 9-11 as a tribute or remembrance to those who have died whether they enriched our lives over a long life or a life cut short. I think of the Band Perry's song "If I Die Young" and the Browning Poem.
I NEVER IN MY LIFE THOUGHT THAT SUCH SENTIMENTS as "Beautiful Life"WERE INCRIMINATING! Tells me a lot about the heavy toll that prosecuting crime takes on the prosecutors. Give a kid a hammer and he goes around treating everything as if it is a nail. Prosecutors can become very jaded and see the worst in people, even if it is not there! Just because you are a prosecutor with a hammer doesn't mean you should go around hammering people.
The prosecutors just wasted $8M of taxpayer money .... and your officers wouldn't even investigate the meter reader's report of a body found! Instead, they just made stuff up and re-traumatized Casey Anthony for three yearsafter her 35 month daughter had died. And they are STILL AT IT!
Screw you all. Nancy and I are gonna hook up and go headhunting for Tot Mom.
I ACTUALLY THINK NANCY GRACE MIGHT TRY TO PLANT SOMETHING ON THIS CASEY WOMAN SOON. and did you see the meltdown she had on GMA after the verdict was read. I hope there is more to this and if Casey is guilty she will soon fess up to it and come to terms with her guilt and SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
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