Dr. Casey Jordan, Criminologist - Attorney

TV Trials Give Professor Added Teaching Time

photo by David E. Johnston

June 13, 2011, Connecticut Law Tribune, by Christian Nolan -- WestConn faculty member offers cable network commentary 

On truTV’s “In Session,” a program with live coverage of trials, it’s “All Casey all the Time.”

The slogan is a direct reference to the Casey Anthony trial, the young Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2008. The case has captivated the viewing public in a way similar to the O.J. Simpson trial over a decade ago.

But “All Casey all the Time” could have dual meanings.

Western Connecticut State University Professor Casey Jordan has been an analyst during the exclusive coverage of the trial on the cable network formerly known as Court TV. Jordan, also a part-time lawyer with an office in Ansonia, has been putting in 12 hour days for the sister network of CNN and much of the time is on-air.

Jordan, who said her “biggest fear is boredom,” admits there’s nothing dull about this trial or her career right now. “Every single day there’s new material to analyze,” said Jordan. “It’s not just sitting there looking pretty…It’s almost like preparing for a real trial.”

Because of the length of the Anthony trial – expected to continue into July -- she has rented an apartment in New York.

Jordan’s work day begins at 7:30 a.m. sharp, when she gets her TV makeup put on. She’s on air at 9. As the trial airs live, Jordan provides commentary on the legal happenings until truTV’s coverage ends at 3 p.m.

“One of the reasons [cable station owner] Time Warner hired me was because I was a teacher first,” said Jordan. “That’s what makes it fun for me…I’m here to break down the [legal] jargon so that the general viewer can understand what’s going on because it’s usually not attorneys who are watching.”

By 4:30 p.m. Jordan is back on the air, this time with CNN’s Headline News channel. She provides daily analysis of the Anthony trial happenings until around 7 p.m. Even then, her television day is often not over.

Jordan has routinely guested on “ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell” at 7 p.m. on CNN’s HLN and taped segments for other programs airing later in the evening. “It’s just kind of my personality, I like a nice full day of challenging work,” said Jordan.

Serial Killer

Jordan has been at Western Connecticut State University since 1991, teaching introductory and advanced criminology courses. She got her first chance to appear on television also two decades ago while teaching a summer class at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she had earned her master’s degree.

In that first on-air opportunity, she was asked to delve into the mind of a serial killer on Court TV. She simply answered the questions posed by the interviewers like she would have had a student asked her in class. The approach worked and led to more steady work on Court TV.

The first trial she covered as a part-time employee for the network was that of Elizabeth “Betty” Broderick, a wealthy California socialite who in 1991was convicted for murdering her ex-husband and his second wife. Jordan has taught a course at WestConn called “Women and Criminal Justice,” and Broderick had attempted an abused spouse defense at trial.

“As Court TV [offered on-air opportunities] more and more, I found myself learning so much about the law,” recalled Jordan.

So Jordan began studying at Quinnipiac School of Law in 2000. But she has remained committed to WestConn and has continued to work there full time even after becoming a lawyer. Still, as she juggles her part-time legal practice and TV commentary work, she’s often on campus only two full days and one evening per week.

One of her own cases was almost as interesting as those she analyzes on TV. Last year, she defended Marash Gojcaj, who was charged with murdering and dismembering an uncle with whom he co-owned a Danbury restaurant. Six years after the killing, Gojcaj was convicted of the murder.

Jordan is also often hired by other Connecticut attorneys to just observe the jury selection process and offer advice on who to select or eliminate from consideration.

Once the fall semester returns, Jordan’s appearance on truTV’s “In Session” will return to a more manageable three days a week. She said she’s fortunate the scheduling of the Anthony trial happened to coincide with the spring semester’s end, so she could devote full-time attention to it for truTV.

But she is already looking forward to upcoming trials, including Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, accused of manslaughter, and Joshua Komisarjevsky, in New Haven, accused of murdering the Petit family in Cheshire.

“I love doing this, said Jordan. “I love this even more than doing trial work. This is just one big classroom.

“When you’re an educator and you really enjoy interacting with people who are engaged, then it’s wonderful to shed some light on the discussion,” Jordan continued. “Doing TV commentary on a case is exactly that; one huge classroom, reaching millions instead of 40.” •




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