An Obscene Prosecution
The Cato Institute's Amicus Briefs

Addicted to Rage

In the wake of yet another slap at her professional ethics, Nancy Grace boasts that in 10 years as a prosecutor she tried more than 100 cases to a jury and handled thousands of guilty pleas. So? 

Hey, Nancy. Plenty of people work that hard.

Perhaps that is why she burned out to become a Court TV caricature.

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 excuplatory evidence, a third court found in a habeas case. Stephens v. Hall, (N.D.Ga. Sept. 11, 2003)

Maybe that explains why she gave up lawyering to accept a gig as Court TV commentator. Perhaps she hoped she could out run her past.

But she can't. She has embraced the past. Grace decided to become a lawyer after the murder of her fiance. Put another way, she sublimated her private grief into public rage.

And now she boasts of her record. "It's a lifetime of work," she says of her decade of rage in the court. Grace now struts for crime victims on Court TV.

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. The public loves Grace because she, well, lacks grace; her speciality is rage.

So, what do you call a burned out prosecutor with a chip on her shoulder? Commentator. And what do you call Nancy Grace? A victim without a cause.

Another reason not to televise trial. Can you imagine letting this wounded duck back into the well of a court while a jury is in the room?