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. ridiculous

    Nancy Grace is a poor excuse for a human being. She has whipped up the public into a frenzy. She could care less about justice. She cares about ratings. She and her clones make me sick.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. steve

    well, our judicial system is still the best in the world. She killed Caylee, whether intentionally or not. Makes no difference. She will forever be labeled a murderer and all the money in the world will never clear her name. What goes around will come around. It may take time but it will.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Dj

      How can this death be called an accident when the little girl was found with duct tape in her moouth ?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    after reading some of these awful comments about lynch mobs etc. that is crazy. the law has spoken. whether you agree with it or not. the whole family is toast in their own way. the family was destroyed and will in all likihood have to move to some far away area. let it be. we all need to move on with our lives. i know the Anthony's will.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Daniel

    Have you ever notice Nancy Graces' haircut? It looks just like Lou Ferrignos hair in the seventies tv show The Hulk, exept hers isn't green. Oh wait...that's the color of the money they pay her.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tarea

    Too late now, but the jury is slowly speaking the truth: Casey wasn't "innocent" and they (the jury) were sickened with their own verdict. It appears the jury misinterpreted the instructions. What a major consequence! As Marsha Clark said the entire jury process including the judges' instructions need an overhaul to ensure this isn't repeated. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Take care of yourself.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    Someone needs to ball gag Nancy. If she would have done the same thing, she would have lost too. I guess that's why she is not practicing law anymore.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Daniel

    The time will come for Nancy Grace to pay the piper. She said it herself, what goes around, comes around. My question is will she go out with a whimper or a maelstrom of hate filled rhetoric? We shall see but I'm betting on the latter.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryant

      Grace is a drama queen and is shocked that someone would disagree with her. She is in a job where he opinions do not matter and where she really has little impact beyond a TV show that is failing in the ratings. Leave her alone and let her fade into obscurity with the least noise as possible.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Walter

    Typical Liberal. Cries when she doesn’t get her way. Most Americans do what’s right and respects the Jury’s decision. Move on you idiots.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Wallis3

      ...By the way,she is NOT a liberal. What's going on in this country that in order to be right or wrong you have to pass a test to see if you are Democrat,Republican, or Liberal.. ?. Otherwise, i agree with you. Move on.!

      July 7, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Roberta

      Walter. Using the "typical Liberal" label is childish and used way too much. I take it that you are a conservative. Perhaps there wouldn't be so much animosity on the political landscape if people didn't use labels like this if they think people disagree with them. I am a liberal and I agree with the jury verdict and also think people should get over it. So do most of my "liberal friends". Here is an idea.....grow up.

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

      Walter: Nancy Grace herself would tell you she is not a liberal. That you drew the conclusion that she is a liberal says a lot about your inability to think logically-sometimes a trait connected with the ignorant or uneducated. If anything, Grace is an unforgiving Nazi-like radical who would have been a good fit during the Salem Witch Trials.

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

    Nancy... why dont you lay down and kick and throw a good old fashioned temper tantrum and get it over with..
    Grow up! No wonder you arent a prosecutor anymore.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Whatevs

    Sweetie, do us all a favor and slither back under the rock you came from. Your 15 minutes are up! And if you ever talk about Caylee again, learn to pronounce her name correctly. Now I have to go take a shower, you are so slimy.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. trufreedom

    Nancy Grace is exactly like Chicken Little. With every news story she chooses to cover, it's like "THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!" In my humble opinion, she is the most annoying person on television. With that off my chest, the state of Florida had "its day in court" with Casey Anthony and they blew it. Right now, whether or not she killed her child is irrelevant. She was found Not Guilty by "THE PEOPLE" for the murder and child abuse charges. Therefore, she is free. Furthermore, the state has no right to pursue Anthony for money they spent associated to "special costs" when they lost their case.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • albert

      "She is the most annoying person on television."

      No doubt about it. If Nancy Grace were to be tried on that comment, any Jury would find her guilty!

      July 7, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Michael

    Nancy-

    If the defense (& therefore Casey Anthony) claims that Caylee died in the pool accidentally, why then wouldn't Casy (& George I guess) be charged with simply disposing of the body in a bag in the swamp. If they admit to finding Caylee dead in the pool, then they would by default be admitting to throwing her body away & not telling anybody about it. Couldn't that be a new serious charge that has nothing to do with murder?

    July 7, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Wallis3

      That is exactly what is stuck in my mind since the verdict.The little girl was PUT in a bag and DUMPED.!You don't have to be a genius to come to the conclusion that either Casey or George or Cindy or the three of them did it.!

      July 7, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • albert

      The prosecution went for all or nothing. They screwed up in that regard.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. NeptuneRex

    Nancy Grace is the BOZO, which is why she does TV instead of lawyer work....go figure.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Holly Glidden

    The jury found Ms. Anthony not guilty because they did not want her put to death. The prosecution erred when they made this a capital case. The death penalty is barbaric and leads to inconsistent results. Nancy Grace with her disrespectful "Tot Mom" comments should recognize the dangers of "over charging" defendants.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Art

    No, Nancy does not have to agree, however, she does not have the right to incite hatred and bigotry.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
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