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. anthony gaston

    Ms. Grace quite often touts her record as a prosecutor. That is pitiful support for her positions. Msl Grace was a political appointee in Atlanta. She was not a career prosecutor, but served not justice, but her elected district attorney. If he filed a case, her job was to make it stick, guilty or not.

    As a result, three times the Georgia Supreme Court cited her for unethical courtroom behavior. She was once cited for putting forth false testimony, and knowingly so. I wonder how the people at CNN sleep nights knowing that they have let loose upon the world, a bigoted, "convict at any cost" lawyer loose upon the world. I have no doubt that if it came to pass that a defendant was in Rome conversing with the Pope at the time of the murder, Grace would call the Pope a liar.

    Grace has no respect for our system of laws. Every time a jury disagrees with her, she defames the jurors. They are stupid, they are liars, they are tantamount to traitors to our way of life.
    Thank god the jury was sequestered and did not have to be exposed to the sadistic diatribe of a Nancy Grace.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Mr. Gaston is absolutely correct about Nancy Grace.

      Ms. Grace is merely a blond " mouth piece" who rants and rages with misinformation and accusation, often her own totally made up inuendo and hearsay in her " little universe" solely for one reason alone which is to deliver CNN's ratings and $$$$.

      Once that stops, and she looses her CNN gig, she would be back in the Atlanta, Georgia bowling ally serving drinks where she started before she went to law school.

      Wake up America.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • hamburger steak

      Not only is grace a lying swathy lunatic but also just butt ugly. Look at those eyes jutting out the side of her head like a hammerhead shark. She also appears to have a less noticable form of downs syndrome but its there.

      MY GOD why did you curse us with such a creature???

      If I had a dog as ugly as Nancy Grace I would cut off its tail and make it walk backwards.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brian

    nancy grace is a joke. anyone who takes her seriously is an even bigger joke. did anyone forget that this poor excuse of a journalist made an innocent woman commit suicide? or when she almost made Elizabeth smart cry? you people make me sick

    July 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dennis

    Perhaps we should replace the jury with a national popularity contest? I served on a jury (as an alternate) that sent a man to prison for 25 to life on no real evidence, just based on his character! If I am ever a defendant I want the jury to evaluate the evidence, not what they personally think about me as is required by law!

    July 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VT_Citizen

    Thank whatever god you believe in that she isn't a judge.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    First of all....do not blame Nancy Grace for peoples' emotions about this case. I did not watch any of her shows and still have a great amount of anger and dismay over the verdict. Nancy was not the only one to cover it and as long as the courts allow cameras and audiences in the courtroom you are going to have journalists and analysts covering trials. It is a sensational case because any normal parent out there or any human being with compassion would be upset about this. Even if her death was accidental no normal parent would bury their child for the animals to feed on. Please do not pretend to believe Casey is innocent. I feel the biggest mistake was going for the death penalty. If they had tried her for manslaughter I would hope for a different outcome. They just did not have the courage to convict her. And based on some of the people on the jury it is not a real surprise they would let her off. Some of them also had bad behavior. Rest in Peace little girl and let's hope her poor excuse for a mother does not get to make millions. Any television station, magazine, publishing company or newspaper that would pay her for her story are as sleazy her.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Work

      No, moron, they didn't convict her because the evidence was just not good enough. I can understand you not comprehending this, but when "such an amazing prosecutor" who has watched and commented on every moment of this case such as Nancy Grace can't understand the "not guilty" verdict is where all I can do is laugh.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judge Charles Lynch

      Blame Nancy Grace? Of course. Tot mom, tot mom, tot mom. She went after that woman the way Hitler went after the Jews.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. reasonable thought

    I heart Nancy Grace. Thank you, Nancy, for your indepth reporting. Keep it coming.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Axelrod

    Fortunately, Nancy Grace is celebrity for simply being celebrity. If she had any worth as a prosecutor, she would decry the lack of evidence and poor prosecution of the case. The short deliberation shows that there were likely 9 jurors who decided on acquittal as they began those deliberations. She a Neil Boortz in drag.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. graphophone

    Regarding the First Amendment and the right to free speech, would it not be incautious to assert publicly, as Nancy Grace has so evinced in this article, that Casey Anthony "murdered her daughter," Caylee? Ms. Anthony has been adjudged by a jury of her peers to be not guilty of committing any crime, especially one of murder, against Caylee. Consequently, could accusing one of such an action, as Ms. Grace has done to Ms. Anthony in this article, be considered slanderous behavior?

    July 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MEHATEYOU

    Nancy Grace is a piece of trash! She was wrong and can't handle it. Her and the media didn't get their way and now all the trivial B.S. is coming out of the woodworks by Nancy herself. Nancy, you started this storm and the tornado hit your house, take your licks and move on. Show a little "GRACE" pun intended, and admit you are wrong. The jury has spoken and I wish the networks would too and cancel your pathetic show!

    July 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Work

    I would love for some piece of DNA evidence to somehow be discovered in a few years down the road which completely proves Casey's innocence just to make Nancy Grace shut upppp... I never heard her take back all the horrible things she said about the Duke lax team, but this case is she's been 100x more vocal.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NancyGraceSucks

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2448050

    Melinda Duckett Suicide After Nancy Grace Interview: 2006

    Duckett's family members disputed any suggestion that she hurt her son. They said that the strain of her son's disappearance pushed her to the brink, and the media sent her over the edge.

    "Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end," Duckett's grandfather Bill Eubank told the Associate Press Tuesday.

    Some media analysts agree, saying Grace's interview went too far.

    "How is that questioning doing anything but making a person in a desperate situation feeling even more desperate?" said Hub Brown, a professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judge Charles Lynch

      We'll never know if the child could have been found alive, because the investigation began to focus on Melinda herself and the search stopped.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NancyGraceSucks

    Nancy – resign now before CNN fires you...it will look better on your resume! LOL!

    July 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. somuchfor

    This is actually the first reasonable public statement and account from Nancy Grace. Take away away the emotional form of speech and put it in text and what she says makes sense. Personally I can't stand watching her on video/broadcast but this is a good interview.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kat

    NO ONE should give these jurors any airtime.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Charlie

    Dear CNN, "Lord" should be written with a capital "L". Show some respect.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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