Nancy Grace: I don't have to agree with Casey Anthony jury
HLN host and former prosecutor Nancy Grace broadcasts live during verdict watch in the Casey Anthony trial this week.
July 6th, 2011
08:56 PM ET

Nancy Grace: I don't have to agree with Casey Anthony jury

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.

soundoff (2,650 Responses)
  1. katter47

    Nancy does a lot of good things, like keeping the memory of victims fresh. However, what she did in this case made a mockery of the concept of "innocent until proven guilty". This idea is the very foundation of our personal rights and the cornerstone of our whole jurisprudence system. She does our nation and her viewers a disservice when she refuses to honor that foundational concept. It is simply wrong to promote a lynch mob mentality, whether you think the accused is guilty or not.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • criterion29

      well under the instuction of the jury you can not return a verdict like little bit pregnant

      July 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Boone

      I totally agree, and I'll add to it by saying that Nancy Grace is the worst person I can think of on tv for giving opinions. She's incredibly biased. Never looks at it from the other point of view. She is always right. She always knows the truth despite a lack of evidence. She believes herself to be this all knowing person and anyone who disagrees is wrong. I can't stand her self righteous behavior and would love to see someone punch her in her big stupid face!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bernice

      this jury was absolutely stupid. Mason will rue the day he lets her into his house to steal..

      July 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe citizen abroad

      Brian...yes, and I don't think we're alone in being sick-and-tired of so-called journalists forcing their opinions down the throats of the public. Let's get back to journalists who report the facts...and let's get back to thinking for ourselves.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Questioning Journalism

    Isn't the (or at least one) distinquishing characteristic between journalism and flaming the ability to report the story without becoming the story? I think Casey Anthony is guilty of a crime related to her daughter's death – but not capital murder. BUT FOR Nancy Grace, perhaps Casey Anthony would have been charged and convicted of the crime she is actually guilty of.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • katter47

      Good point. Monday morning quarterbacking, I know, but I suspect a manslaughter (negligent homicide) conviction would have been a lot easier to prove and would have been highly consistent with the evidence. Did Nancy fanning the flames on national TV every night influence the decision to go for Murder 1? A more balanced approach might have resulting in Casey doing significant time instead of walking free.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • iBod

      I second your statement Katter 🙂

      July 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Questioning Journalism

      I watched parts of the OJ trial, and regardless of the outcome, I remember how distorted even the more "balanced" "objective" journalism was on that case. I'd see a few unedited segments of the trial, and then later saw the report of those segments on the news. It was as though the reporter was in a different courtroom!! Nancy Grace is like those reporters on steroids!! No wonder everyone is shocked by the verdict – to listen to Nancy Grace, you'd think that Casey Anthony was John Wayne Gacy with a smoking gun and dozens of bodies buried under her house.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Spider hater

    Good job, Nancy! I know that if something happened to my child, I would want you giving your all so that justice is served.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotTellinYou

      If your child died, like the hundreds of others that do every year, Nancy Grace would do NOTHING unless it was a sensational case that could give her ratings and make money! So I guess the lesson here is if your kid dies make sure it's in a way that's movie like, oh, and make sure it's a girl, that she is white, and preferably blonde.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • R A

      If your child died, this pig would be calling you guilty from Day One, calling you a killer and making all sorts of other innuendo, then when you were found not guilty she'd still be calling you a killer on TV. Is that what you want?

      July 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      Sadly, NG would only give her all if she knew there were ratings and money to be made.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bud Graham

    Nancy Grace is a dumpy frumpy over weight blonde pompous gas bag. The way she acts you gotta figure she is wearing an adult diaper cause there is no doubt she is full of it.

    There is something wrong with people that aspire to be prosecuters under our legal system. Justice is not their concern, merely stacking up convictions one after the other. We should try and figure out a way to separate the job from the ego trip as far to many innocent people in this country are placed in prison because of these fanatics.

    The evidence just was not there to convict Casey although she certainly is an odd duck. I do not think she is a murderer.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      I love your portrayal of NG – right on!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Drew

    Nancy Grace is disgusting. She's a slimeball lawyer who exploits children every bit as much as the people she believes harms them. Missing and murdered children have made her a rich woman. Think about it.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • texasmike

      Correct. Also missing blonde, blue eyed WHITE children. That's telling, too.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PrettyOldGuy

    Nancy, you're irrelevant. Go away. Please.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. texasmike

    Nancy Grace is a video vigilante, proposing scenarios and "evidence" she knows would never see the inside of a courtroom. I dispute ANY experience she claims she has, as her mouthfoaming aggression is a clear indication that she is unqualified to be an attorney. She is a disgrace to rational discourse and creates a net negative in America's respect for justice in this country.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doc M

    Declaring someone guilty of murder with a background and platform such as hers is defamatory, not free speech.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NotTellinYou

    PLEASE get this woman off the air!

    For the last three years she has used poor Caylee's death to build her ratings and make money! I don't care what she thinks anymore than I cared about the trial overall! There are HUNDREDS of children murdered each year that aren't sensational as this and in Nancy's eyes I guess don't deserve a voice because they won't make her any $$$.

    At least I can look at myself in the mirror happy I NEVER watch this woman and NEVER will.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sharon K., Miami, Florida

    This woman is quite full of herself. If she had her chance, she would find way to degrade, harass and step on each juror's head. This is the Mother of all of the Talking Heads. After a few minutes of her screaming in your face, you run for the Excedrin Migraine Extra Strength tabs. Then if the remote is not close enough, have someone toss it to you and TURN HER OFF. Maybe crappy ratings will humble this former lawyer and hopefully former, talk show host.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tommy Jonq

    she misses the courtroom so much she can't stop going on TV and talking about how much she misses it.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. greg

    Quite frankly, its people like her that we see so many innocent people being released years after being convicted. She has a one track mind and thinks shes so smart that whatever she says has to be correct. She didnt know this family, still doesnt know this family and has no idea what happened to that child.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    When will someone do a Jon Stewart and shame CNN into axing this blowhard? Like Hardball, shows like Grace's do more harm than good, undermining due process. A prosecutor who a Court of Appeals claimed "played fast and loose" with her ethical duties, is responsible for such one-sided diatribes that she has no place at a major news network. People like her belong on Talk Radio or Faux News where all the other loud mouths who love the sound of their own voices end up.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • vicki

      totally agree

      July 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      I fault Larry King for giving her the access she needed to jump start her career. It's been all downhill for NG since.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      Has SNL ever done a NG sketch? I'm sure it would be spot on.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ned

    How that Swift Justice working out for you, oh thats right your not doing it anymore. If I hear tot mom one more time I think I'll puke. Nancy Graceless complains about the very system that MADE HER A FORTUNE what a hypocrite.She wants to say how bad a mother Casey Anthony is well who raising your twins must "Zanny the Nanny" cause your face is so firmly planted in the studio I have to wonder who your kids are bonding with,LEAVE THE AIR AND GO BE A MOTHER

    July 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      I only see your show if channel surfing, but I can't even stand you that long Gracie

      July 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lily

    I agree with Nancy. A child is dead and this family knows how it happened. They are sinners and liars.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      And you are all knowing and wise.......right!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polly

      give it a rest. You don't know anything for certain.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
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