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. George Bright

    Wow. Just wow.

    CNN should have asked "Because you work at a news network and host what is essentially billed as a news show, do you feel the rules of journalism (fairness in coverage, avoidance of prejudgement, dispassionate reportage of facts, not opinions) applies to you?"

    Personally I find it sad that a former prosecutor and current member of the bar has so little respect for the legal system.

    July 7, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • az

      perfect reflection on what's going on. she has ZERO respect for anything other than her bullsht opinions.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. nancy spurgis

    no, gee, sorry nancy but the jury wasn't wrong. in our system of justice their decision prevails and they are the "correct" answer whether you think so or not. you can sit there and expound all day long that in opinion the jury was wrong and she is guilty. that just makes you look like a blabbering idiot and fool.

    July 7, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bonnie

    In Canada, with an incredible verdict and a miscarriage of justice like this, Casey Anthony would likely be sentenced to serve her full concurrent term on the remaining charges to gerneral population in a maximum or supermaximum Penetentiary, without the potential of a reduced sentence or time off for good behavior where justice might be served ....in spades! ....Believe it or not, inmates have a code of justice when it comes to harming a child and it isn't pretty.

    My guess is that she'd allso be required to pay full cost for all expenses incurred by law enforcement and other agencies for the entire time they were searching for her baby girl .....and they'd fine her to death if she didn't pay. In fact, while they might offer her some education while she was in prison, they'd also ensure she didn't gain monetarily, in any way, for her actions. ....She'd repay the taxpayers from whom she stole or guess what. ....Exactly!

    July 7, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Who cares what you and the Canadian justice system think? She was found not-guilty by a jury of 12 people. In other words, innocent of the charges. Take you stupid comments somewhere else.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • JakeC

      Bonnie, I never realized that your flag displayed the CANNABIS Leaf. I always thought it was a Maple Leaf but THANKFULLY in America, the PRESUMPTION of GUILT...or THE FEELINGS OF THE PUBLIC is NOT grounds to CONVICT. Remind me NOT to visit Canada...oh, I wasn't going to anyway.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • LilyHaze

      Well, like it or not, in America she is innocent of all if those charges, so her prison time, if any, will be based on her convicted crimes.
      Giving maximum punishment for the rest is dishonorable. You would be letting personal emotion, and not law, guide your action.
      I'm not saying she is innocent, I'm just saying the state must treat her that way.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • az

      lol who cares about Canada. That's like saying here in...........i dont know, the bahamas we'd do this. don't care. It was here and was actually our justice system working flawlessly

      July 7, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • what?

      Bob, Jake and Lily, she was convicted of 4 charges of lying to police. You should have kept up with the news.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • A different Bob

      Hey 1st Bob–You're judging the Canadian comment the same way or even worse than them judging Casey–I'm always concerned about any of the extreme remarks, comments, feelings, etc–If she skirted the system she did–She was not given a verdict of innocent, just not guilty–Most have been convinced she was responsible for Caylee's death, just not enough hard evidence to convict– And if she wasn't she's her mom and in charge of and responsible for that little girl–Her choices for those 31 days were just plain wierd, pretty stupid, etc(oops their I go getting extreme, sort of)–If she writes books, does interviews, etc., bottom line, how can we trust what is truth and more lies?–For what ever she or friends, family, etc have done, their will be consequences–That's not republican, democrat, Christian, etc–just common sense and the way life works-It's chill time and we all need to focus on getting thru the days, learning from life stuff, loving those close to us, appreciating, smelling a few roses, etc.-God Bless all–

      July 7, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • JakeC

      Uh...I THINK we KNOW she was convicted of LYING. Our governments as well as your beloved Ms DISGrace LIE to us ALL the time.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • malasangre

      well Bonnie Butthead guess what? in America the Dept of Corrections decides where you do time based on their factors. you cant be "sentenced" to solitary or any extra-judicial punishment. Do they still flog prisoners there?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. huxley

    Well, I have maintained all along that Casey Anthony was innocent of most of the charges – in fact I said a week ago – she would be found innocent of the 3 felonies and guilty only of lying to the police. Here's why I think Nancy Grace was obviously wrong.

    First, she spent the last couple months saying that every facial twitch, every smile, every scowl, every sad face, every tear – meant that Casey Anthony was guilty. No one is that good at reading emotions over video. No one can read emotions that well over video. No one can detect a lie over video. The FBI has tried to detect lies over video. With all of their experts, they haven't found a way to detect a lie over video by facial expression alone.

    Second, all Nancy did was repeatedly say "TOTMOM is guilty" for the last year. Thats just bad reporting, and therefore its wrong. Also, I don't care how many time she said it – doesn't make it true. She talked herself into it.

    Third, where's the evidence? Why not pick apart the physical evidence rather than repeat the mantra "she's guilty".

    Finally, many of the young women I know are pathological liars. It seems to be endemic in that half of the human race. Since that seemed to be the only real evidence against Casey Anthony, that she lies to her Mom – just like every other young woman in the world, how do you find her guilty of murder? How about a story about why young women lie to their moms instead of repeatedly saying "she's guilty"?

    July 7, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Patty Mayonnaise

      You need to start hanging out with some other ladies if most of the ones you now know are pathological liars. Poor guy.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. keef

    Just like a republican, guilty until proven innocent, well she was get over it.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    Nancy Grace is one of the ugliest people in the media. CNN should be ashamed to have this witchy person as a commentator. Nancy Grace spends all her time convicting people, before they ever get to trial. Her sick mind is buried in garbage all day long – she lives to talk about other people's crimes. What a waste of humanity.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gabor

    This old lady is very annoying indeed. She is sour and evil. I am not going to comment on the case because this interview is about NG and nothing else. Sad.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rebecca

    I don't agree with the verdict but the whole 'tot mom' thing is so offensive and tabloid. As if Nancy Grace cares one way or the other...she is just out to get her face out there and further her career. She is just as bad as the rest of them, and the criminals she complains about. A fake and a user, that is what she is, and she spreads hate to further her own career. Ick.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    It's funny – Grace says the First Amendment allows freedom of speech as long as it isn't defamation, and then she says – following a legal verdict – that Anthony killed Caylee. My years of experience in a newsroom has taught me that you make these sorts of statements, you run the risk of being sued or held in contempt of court. It's fine to disagree and it's fine to criticize and second-guess/armchair quarterback jury selection. But if I write a story about a guy who was accused of bank robbery and was then acquitted, I don't write that so-and-so robbed a bank. Grace may have lots of experience as a lawyer but she needs more lessons on how to be a journalist if she's hosting a show on a so-called news network.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Patty Mayonnaise

    I am curious...has Anthony ever asked if somebody is looking for the real killer? Did she bring this up after she was acquitted? Or, did she just maintain her innocence and when acquitted just focus on herself?

    July 7, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    I refuse to watch anything that has this witch Nancy DisGrace on it. Shes a nasty washed up witch.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fire Nancy Grace

    Nancy Grace was wrong. What a buffoon.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Elmeaux

    My opinion is that Nancy Grace has no credibility. Anybody who calls the defendant in a death penalty murder trial by the name "tot mom" is acting very unprofessionally, and is just out for sensationalism and ratings.

    If you have forgotten, she was once sued because a woman whose son went missing committed suicide after being interviewed by Grace. She settled the case by establishing a trust fund toward the cause of finding the missing boy. Good enough. But the point is that when giving her statements, Grace apparently asked that the court cameras be turned OFF, because she didn't want to be embarrassed by the spotlight.

    And when sued by a former colleague for breach of contract over the Fox show they were planning together, she apparently refused to discuss the case in the media. The statement from her legal rep read: "Ms. Grace will respond in full, in court – not the media – and has great faith that the truth will come out."

    Strange how she expects privacy and dignity for herself, but never seems to afford these things to others. She treats people like dirt. I would never want it on my conscience that somebody took their own life because of my poisonous treatment of them.

    She fills the air with hate and it makes me wonder what it's like for her children. Are they living in a house weighted down by all this overwhelming negativity and toxicity? I hope I am wrong. I hope this isn't who she really is, and that this is just an act for television, and that she can shut it off like a light switch when she goes home at night. I hope her home is actually a place of love and positive energy.

    But the catch is that if that is so, then I am right about the fact that she has no credibility, and that it's all about sensationalism.

    Nancy Grace, make up your mind about the legacy you want to leave behind. Do you want to be remembered as a circus act – never to be taken seriously – or someone who is as true and real to the viewers as to those under your own roof?

    July 7, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      WOW – you couldn't be any more right Elmeaux. Go die in a fire Nance!

      July 7, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    It didn't take long for Juror #3 to get in the spotlight. She indicated that her, and others were"sick to their stomach" over the verdict...hummm must have just been the 24 hour flu cause she looked quite well and happy to be in front of the camera. Also, if the judicial "system" works as designed and is fair..why are innocent people in prison and guilty people out on the streets?. Perhaps we should revisit the design????

    July 7, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. innersixx

    Anyone who has watched five minutes of Nancy Grace isn't surprised that she is not accepting what a jury said. Nancy is the type of person who when she has her mind made up, no matter what happens it won't change it. What it comes down to is Casey was tried in front of her peers and found not guilty of murder. Most people will come to terms with this, and it's okay to disagree. But to call someone a murderer after the fact that they went through a trial and was found not guilty of being a murderer is wrong and is close to slander.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
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