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. musings

    She's right to say that trials should always be public. Perish the thought that it should all happen behind closed doors. Our founding fathers lived in a world where there were killings too. This may have been a sensational trial, but the principles applied are the same as they would have been in past eras. In the late 19th century, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of murdering her parents, but the sense that she had actually been the murderer persisted in a jump-rope rhyme.

    I think that some jurors may have believed that Casey killed her daughter in a fit of rage and covered it up. There were jurors themselves with a history of violence. Others may have bought the drowning story. Still others might have felt it had involved a stranger abduction. But when they got together, they saw the tender photos of mother and daughter and the demeanor of an attractive, distressed young woman. They decided to cut her a break. If you asked the jury about Lizzie Borden, you might find something similar – the idea that an otherwise decent young woman could not really be a murderess (even if she lapsed once – or twice).

    Two juries separated by time and region, coming to what looks at a distance to have been an irrational decision.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bourneblogger

    God I hate NG... Like the juror's former DUI had anything to do with this case, why he said not guilty, and why every other juror said not guilty... She's such a hack...

    July 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan Gleason

    Yes, you'd have to take a spelling test and learn how to spell Casey. Just not sure you could qualify under the triple-digit IQ rule.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Larry O

    No Fingerprints, NO DNA of Mrs. Anthony. You are a lawyer what did you expect!!!. No real evidence that she was the killer or in on a family secret!!!. You have just lost a fan Mrs. Disgrace!!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RC

    Nancy Grace knows what she's talking about.. The case is absolutely clear to anyone who took in the evidence. The jurors were incompetent and swindled by the defense basically. They WANTED to believe Casey was innocent, but they weren't looking at the actual facts unfortunately – just a false alternative carefully crafted by the snake known as her lawyer.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff h

      The problem is that there were no facts that could prove anything, wake up!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • carla

      someone said "absolutely clear to anyone who took in the evidence" I do believe they took in the evidence more than we did. How do you know that ND is so correct? I hope I'm never in trouble for something and have to face someone such as you. You would rather believe a T.V personality than the verdict. We may not like the verdict or even agree with it but anyone other than those in the courtroom took in the evidence.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff h

    Who watches Nancy Grace, does she even have a show anymore?
    Just curious.

    I watched her for a few minutes a long time ago and could not stand her, she is kind of creepy.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. paul

    I'm not a fan of nancy grace's shtick personally, but she is right that the she can say whatever she wants thanks to freedom of speech. Where I have issue is CNN putting her on HLN for the verdict reading. If you want to have Nancy and that other nutjob lady rant and rave on their own shows, that's fine. But when you put Nancy and her admitedly biased views, in to cover real breaking news on HLN you are hurting the creditability of HLN's news crew. I thought CNN was supposed to be the last balanced cable news network?

    Yes, HLN garnered high ratings for the verdict, but that's only because 90% of people switched over to watch Nancy's massive head explode afterwards.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Name*Debbie baham

    I believe in my heart that she killed her daughter and does not have a conscience and hope she is haunted the rest of her life!!!! I also believe they new she did it !!!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ed Sr

    The truth is coming out...........................if anyone should care to read it...............the REASON Nancy Grace came to CNN as a commentator on crime and is no longer a criminal prosecutor is BECAUSE she was SANCTIONED by the courts several times for OVER REACHING in cases she tried...............well Nancy...........the truth hurts but the truth is out.............you are a hanging prosecutor who never believed in justice...........just punishment regardless of the truth of the crime purportedly committed.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • carla

      Ed Sr. When is this "news" coming out? I do believe she is biased but I would think any defense or prosecuting attorneys are. I believe she went into law after her former fiance' was murdered. As horrible as that is, it definitely would explain ND's hostile remarks on about pretty much anything. If I was in trouble, I would was her as a defense attorney but would never want to meet her on the other side of the bench. yikes.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. likeminded

    Nancy, you go girl, I'm ticked at the verdict also. I believe America is aching because of the wrong verdict. People will immediately start looking for a dog (pet) when they discover it's missing. Posting fliers, stopping people and asking them have you seen a dog loose? Some people offer rewards. We have "Amber Alert" for missing children. We have "911" for emergencies (accidental pool drowing). Prison for murderers where the "TOT" murderer should be!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Ellroy

      Huh?

      July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Burden of Proof

    Nancy Grace is a former lawyer who stands firmly behind the principle of "GUILTY until proven innocent."

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. carla

    ND has totally confused me. She says to respect the juries decision but somehow she "KNOWS" that "tot mom" is guilty. Was she seeing something we didn't see? Was she privy to evidence that we weren't? For one, I hope we never hear the term "tot mom" again. That was totally for ratings. I'm sure we all have our opinions about the verdict,. but it is what it is and it can't be undone. Kristen, you are so right about her interrupting her panel. She puts on experts and then degrades them on air. I'm sure they get their exposure but who would want that kind?

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lloyd Anstey

    RE: Nancy Grace.....make her go away!!! She is a complete embarasment!!!!! My God what a tool!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wellthen

    she doesn't have to agree, but we don't have to agree with her either. she seems to lose sight of that by chewing off the head of anyone who disagrees with her. Also, very poor taste for her to tear the jury apart the way she has been doing..bringing up their past, etc. Take this woman off TV already. Nancy Disgrace.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      where does freedom of speech figure into your lame attack against Nancy – please – even a complete idiot knows she's guilty – my only hope is that Casey has a front row seat in hell !

      July 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alton

    Nancy is pretty BUT mean as a snake. Her eyes and entire demeanor smacks with hostility; indeed, it even appoaches HATE for mankind. Its VERY easy to see how a courtroom setting, prosecuting in particular, would be HER thing. Her greatest thrill would be in watching the worm turn as she sticks him/her with a pin of WHAT SHE defines as justice.
    And yes, without ANY doubt, after she socks it to her victim – THAT would amount to her s. climax for the month. She does'nt need a husband or boyfriend.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Gleason

      I agree with everying you say except "pretty." Are you wearing beer goggles???? I would just as soon snuggle up beside a sow.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nyarlathotep

      Agreed. Her contempt for due process and her belittling of the tough decisions the regular folks on the jury needed to make is disgusting. And, of course, she believes in an angry, vengeful version of god.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOregon

      "Nancy is pretty..."
      Each to their own I guess. I'm glad your standards aren't too high.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
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