Friday, March 3, 2006

Is Nancy Grace the "James Frey" of the Legal Pundit World?

I am going to come right out and admit it -- I hate Nancy Grace. The obnoxious Court TV and CNN Headline News host is basically the loudmouth, know-it-all "Dr. Laura" of the legal world. She is so self righteous and constantly berates and shouts over her guests, that I am surprised anyone can stand watching her. Yet, she has huge ratings on both networks that she works for, and frequently fills in for Larry King on Larry King Live on CNN.

Nancy Grace has largely been able to get away with being so shrill and meanspirited toward defense attorneys due to her personal history. According to Grace, when she was 19, her fiancee was shot and killed by a random mugger with a long criminal rap sheet. The story then goes on to say that this mugger was then found guilty in a long trial and sentenced to life in prison. He appealed his conviction numerous times. This experience affected Grace so much that she decided to become a prosecutor and spend her life putting criminals like the guy who killed her fiancee behind bars. She also wanted to reign in defense attorneys, and make it harder to appeal a conviction under any circumstances.

She is one of those right wingers that believes that anyone accused of a crime is guilty, and anyone that chooses to defend the accused is just as guilty as that accused person. She referred to defense attorneys as "guards at Auschwitz." This over-the-top attitude of hers makes her shows unbearable to watch. Since she so misunderstands the very basic rights provided to citizens under the US Constitution, it is hard to believe that she could have been a good attorney. But, by all accounts, she was very successful as a prosecutor. Guilty or not -- Hang 'em high Grace made sure they went to jail.

Well, now it seems that the event that so changed her life had some James Frey-like additions to the story. She changed a number of details to make the story fit her political spin (wow, how unlike a conservative?! and how similair to fellow right-wing blowhard Dr. Laura).

A recent piece in the New York Observer calls into question many aspects of the crime that Grace says transformed her life. For one thing, the assailant was not a stranger, and the guy never even filed a single appeal to his conviction. He had no prior criminal history. In fact, the guy confessed to the crime, so the trial was a mere formality! The trial lasted a matter of hours, and the reason the death penalty was not chosed was because the assailant was retarded. Hardly seems like some grave injustice. It sounds like the guy confessed and was convicted.

If you needed another reason to dislike Nancy Grace, you now have one.

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