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Dead Tree Alert: Avenging Grace

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Mark Hill / CNN / AP

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, my column in this week’s TIME will seem familiar. It’s essentially my post from earlier this week on judge-and-jury Nancy Grace and the Casey Anthony trial, tightened to fit a page in the magazine, and updated to cover her reactions to the not-guilty verdict that night and the next morning (when the print magazine closes).

Actually, those later comments on the verdict were even more vituperative, if not surprisingly so, than her remarks immediately afterward. What struck me was how much energy Grace spent not just on disparaging “Tot Mom” and attacking the verdict, but on demonizing the defense and delegitimizing the jury. She played and replayed the footage of the defense attorneys toasting their victory, as if they themselves had been caught in a crime, and assailed the jurors’ qualifications, pointing out individuals’ education levels and legal histories. Speaking to George Stephanopoulos the next morning, she said “I’m not going to let some kooky jury stop justice.”

Look—disagree with the verdict, fine. Pick apart the reasoning or the way the prosecution handled a case Grace obviously believed they should have won—knock yourself out. But there’s something obnoxious and cynical about ad hominem attacking the “kooky” people who, you know, keep the justice system running (while, of course, paying transparent lip service to “respecting the system”)—not to mention acting as if representing a defendant in an adversarial system of justice is an immoral act in itself.

But that’s my kooky opinion. Maybe that’s why I never get picked for juries.