Why is Nancy Grace still on CourtTV and CNN, given her record?
"Can you imagine letting this wounded duck back into the well of a court while a jury is in the room?" asks Norm Pattis, Law.com blogger, in a post about Monday's ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the conduct of CourtTV commentator and anchor Nancy Grace.
I think -- as journalist and a blogger -- that Pattis has sketched a strong case for Grace's resignation, or for CourtTV and CNN to remove Grace from the air as a public service to viewers, although Pattis doesn't think it would ever happen:
"Will this latest ruling affect her credibility as a television commentator? Of course not. The public doesn't read appellate decisions. The public only knows what the camera exposes," Pattis writes.
Here I will piggyback on Pattis' perspective: I think Monday's decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has negatively affected Nancy Grace's credibility as a legal commentator and I think its the responsibility of CNN and CourtTV to either disclose these decisions to the audience and/or take action.
Here's why: On Monday, Grace was admonished for the third time for her conduct as a prosecutor in Georgia, this time by the 11th Circuit. The court, however, still "upheld a triple murder conviction won by Grace, explaining that her actions didn't change the result of the trial." Here's an excerpt from the full story by John Ringell of the Fulton County Daily Report:
"The three-judge panel on Monday criticized Grace for not following her obligations to disclose to the defendant's lawyer information about other possible suspects. The 11th Circuit also agreed with a magistrate who found it hard to believe that Grace did not knowingly use a detective's false testimony that there were no other suspects ... Grace on Tuesday denied hiding that other people might have been involved with the crime, noting one of her witnesses said so in open court ..."
In his post on Crime & Federalism, Pattis details each appellate court admonishment of Grace, as a public record of her misconduct:
"Grace's conduct as a prosecutor has gleaned the following commentary by reviewing courts. She has "demonstrated disregard of the notions of due process and fairness;" her conduct was "inexcusable," wrote the Georgia Supreme Court in Carr v. State, 267 Ga. 701 (1997).
"Her closing argument in another case "exceeded the wide latitude" afforded counsel. She argued the heinousness of drug-related murders and serial rape in a heroin trafficking conviction. Bell v. State, 263 Ga. 776 (1994).
"And most recently, she "played fast and loose with her disclosure obligations" as regards exculpatory evidence, a third court found in a habeas case. Stephens v. Hall, (N.D.Ga. Sept. 11, 2003)"
Today, Grace is no longer in Georgia courtrooms. But she is in many American living rooms, as the host of "Nancy Grace" on CNN's Headline News, as well as on CourtTV. The question is whether her conduct and credibility as a lawyer impinges upon her credibility as a legal commentator -- suspect in my book for some time.
Should she still be there? Comments are open.
Posted by Laurel Newby on May 4, 2005 at 10:36 AM | Permalink
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