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. Laci Costanzo

    Two things to say...#1...for those of you on here who are making fun of Nancy Grace's comments about how the jurors are the judges of the facts and the evidence, perhaps it is you who need to go to law school. I am a legal transcriptionist and have typed thousands of cases just like this one. In a jury case, the judge's responsibility is to move the case along, decide what evidence is allowed to be put in, and rule on objections. The jurors are, indeed, the judges and the triers of the facts and the evidence, the determiners of guilt or innocence, period, end of story. #2, it's amazing to see how many people are on here, all of a sudden, a day after the trial, acting like they know everything, making fun of Nancy Grace, because a jury found Casey Anthony not guilty. That's laughable to me since a vast majority of you prior to yesterday were calling for her head. I'm not here to defend Nancy Grace, but the simple fact is that juries get it wrong lots of times. That's why we have an appeals system. To see this evidence and to conclude that Casey Anthony was not involved in her daughter's death/cover-up is absolutely not common sense, and it is a juror's right and responsibility to use his or her's common sense, which these obviously didn't. Finding her guilty of first degree murder seemed like a stretch, but manslaughter and child abuse? Open and shut.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shecky Serious

      Number #1 – I don't read posters that have to number their inane "points."

      July 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      Well, Laci with an i, if you're a transcriptionist then who are we to doubt you? Typing testimony obviously equals the ability to undertake a close and critical reading of the law. Not that I'm doubting the intelligence required by your career of choice, after all I once had an acquaintance who became a transcriptionist after she dropped out of manicurist school.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis Williamson

      @ Laci I am a lawyer, and Nancy is an idiot. As you should know from doing transcripts, she does not understand the rules of evidence and she doesn't understand what a courtroom is all about. She may have at one time, but she has totally lost sight of it. She used to say one of her greatest mentors was Johnnie Cochrane, he has been for sure rolling in his grave over the last few years in listening to her.

      Travis

      July 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DCBar

      For someone with such an extensive background in transcribing legal issues, you'd think you would have come across a concept called "reasonable doubt." We don't convict based on common sense. We convict on evidence. For 12 unrelated people from varying backgrounds to determine in less than 10 hours that the evidence simply wasn't there is telling. The evidence in this case just as reasonably pointed to an accidental death and subsequent coverup as it did murder. Casey didn't have to prove she didn't kill her daughter. The prosecution had to prove she did. And they didn't. We don't convict on gut reactions. Even ifs he's guilty, I'd rather her go free than have a different standard of proof. It's better she go free than our system put innocent people in prison. It isn't perfect. It will never be. But it's a hell of a lot better than what people are calling for here.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • malasangre

      the state cannot appeal this.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
    • paula

      Couldn't agree with you more Laci. I also felt Manslaughter and/or child negligence. There may have been many holes in the prosecution's theories, but there was enough evidence if one only listened, watched and reviewed testimonies and all that was presented before them to convict on something more than 4 counts of lying to a police officer. I mean, really? Accidental drowning? Hardly-the defense team didn't prove that one either. And any "loving" parent or grandparent would have dialed 911 immediately, if that were the case. They wouldn't try to commense a cover-up and hide the body. What would one gain by that? Taping up a body in a blanket, putting it in a trash bag and tossing it in a swamp (well that is ABUSE OF A CORPSE!), why go through all that trouble for an accidental drowning? The only "common sense" conclusion to this story is that Casey Anthony cold-heartedly murdered her baby girl so she could have the lifestyle she wanted. Free to party with boyfriend Tony, and Casey was the ONLY one who would benefit from Caylee not being around. Now Casey will have that freedom as she walks out of jail on July 13th. "Bella Vita" for sure! Back to the "BEAUTIFUL LIFE..." My heart will continue to bleed for little Caylee, taken from this earth far too soon at the hands of her own mother. NOONE will make me believe that Casey is not guilty. Not Guility as stated by a jury of her peers; but by NO means INNOCENT! Rest in Peace little Caylee. Your memory will live on in us all....

      July 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddy

      SHUT ! Now go back to your little machine.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sylvia

    Very well put Nancy Grace! The jury lacked education and most of all common sense, What a colossal miscarriage of justice. A murderer was set free all because of an inept jury.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shecky Serious

      meh, ... life goes on. Win some you lose some, that's life toots.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. QuietNancy

    Certainly thie outcome of this trial was unexpected. Quite possibly CA got away with murder. That said, in our judicial system you are rightfully innocent until proven guilty and thus the prosecution bears the burden of proof. We are fortunate to live in a country where this is so otherwise all of us would be at risk for false imprisonment or false guilt.

    The prevailing conversation since the verdict is what can we do to honor the memory of Caylee. I think we all ought to commit to turning off the media rhetoric and start learning to think for ourselves without being influenced by agenda infused talking heads like Ms. Grace. She has had it out for CA since before charges were filed. That is not right. It is intersting to me that the jury was fully insulated from the nightly ranting and raving of Ms. Grace and her contemporaries and returned an unexpected verdict. Is it possible that when completely impartial and charged to think for yourself that the evidence in the case did not support conviction. I'd wager that the vast majority of the 'outraged' did not watch 10% of the trial instead opting to make their decision based on the feelings espoused by Ms. Grace and her contemporaries. Even since the verdict, Ms. Grace comes on tv and stomps around like a sore loser. It is pathetic. Instead of admitting that she was wrong and apologizing to her viewers she is bantering on about the shortcomings of the jury. Ie, "The jury had some problems, DUI, possession of drug paraphanalia, etc. Are you kidding me. Where does it end with this woman. I am begging everyone, let's make a statement and turn this junk off.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shecky Serious

    I'm bored with this tot-mom stuff.

    What's the next "outrage" , I'm ready!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 123doreme

    Nancy Grace is a perfect example of what this nation has turned into. She's one of the people and from the polls I see, the majority thinks like her. That's really sad. Walter Cronkite was the last good newsman. CNN is a Soap Opera.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tot mom is a child killer

    Casey Anthony is guilty!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shecky Serious

      had no idea which way you were leaning

      July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      I think Ore Ida did it! Call Nancy Grace!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jefffbo

    Just shut up Nance Grace.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • FkNCG

      agreed ! i would like to see this b*$ch 's mouth duct taped shut!

      July 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sound Good Grace. Sounds Real Good.

    For a prosecutor, apparently she lost sight of "innocent until proven guilty". Personally, I think they got it right. They weighed the evidence against her that was presented. Each and every remark about her being guilty after the verdict that she makes I would consider slanderous and/or libel. Perhaps when one of her twins committs a crime, I'll be the lucky prosecutor behind that case. And I'll come up with a clever name. Hummm. "Nancy's DisGrace".

    July 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JW

    Nancy, you will never be a juror again in your life. So keep spouting the abundance of bitterness you have in your heart, but we are glad you aren't part of the justice system. I pity the person that listens to you to help condemn their fellow man before they are tried by the real justice system. Nancy, you are the real criminal here, for working so hard to destroy the American justice system.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. donna rochester

    We may not like Nancy's Grace delivery and histrionic pronouncements but there are an awful lot of people who agree with her. What are the chances that 12 incompentent, lazy and downright stupid, deaf and blind individuals would end up on the same jury? This was a perfect storm of inadequate citizens given the responsibility that they clearly were not qualified for. We need better juries. Casey will end up like O.J and Jouran, back in jail for something totally in character for someone like her with absolutely no morals. Karma will take care of her eventually.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sarah

    Nancy can be brash, but anyone who disagrees with her in this particular situation is as ridiculous as the defenses claim that Caylee drowned.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dv

    Poor Nance, covering an execution of a woman is big on her career bucket list. In an earlier time, Nance DeFarge would channel her bitter disappointment into knitting Casey's name into her guillotine list. The jury showed Nance as the self righteous judgmental ignoramus that she is.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kenman

    The justice system isn't perfect and it definitely isn't fair. It just happens to be the best system we currently have. Nancy Grace is probably correct in her "Guilty until proven innocent" stance (which most court systems also observe) but she could have displayed a little more public discretion and tried to be at least a little unbiased. Nancy is looking for ratings and she's become a CNN "Howard Stern" of the Court T.V. channels. I turned her off midway through the trial because she tainted the evidence with her commentary trying to sway my opinion to coincide with hers. She's done the same thing in other cases prior to this one and she will continue until her show is removed from the air. Does anyone know what her prosecution % rate was? What I've found out about prosecutors, especially those in the Licking County, Ohio area, is that all they have to do is get the conviction. Innocence doesn't matter to them, only the numbers. That way the can use those stats to run for judge. The reverse is true of a defense attorney. They conjure up the best smoke screen the can for their client. The courts are currently lacking on any true justice and it has become a game between attorneys and prosecutors who at the end of the day, in my area, go to lunch and etc together because they wheel and deal outside of the court room like stock traders. Don't even get me started on crooked cops! Plenty of those around here too! I believe the justice system is broke. I wish someone could fix it.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aezel

    Of COURSE the jury was inept. It was comprised of the American public. It is automatically incapable of intelligent decision making.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chris

    nancy disgrace lol vic

    July 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
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