Dr. Casey Jordan, Criminologist - Attorney

WestConn Law Professor Wears Many Hats

May 22, 2011  -- NewsTimes - By John Pirro, Staff Writer
DANBURY -- The telephone call that launched Casey Jordan's career as a television commentator came on a hot July afternoon nearly 20 years ago. 

Jordan was teaching summer classes at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City when a reporter from the local CBS affiliate called, looking to interview another criminology professor about the arrest of Joe Rifkin, a Long Island man suspected in the murders of as many as 17 prostitutes.

When Jordan told the reporter the professor was in Canada, he asked, "Are you a criminologist, too? Could we come over with a camera?" she said.

A few minutes later, Jordan was expounding on the psychology of serial killers, imagining herself back in the classroom addressing her criminology students.

"All I did was talk to the camera like I was teaching a class," she said.

The technique worked, and within a few years Jordan was the in-house criminologist for CNN and was frequently appearing on ABC's "20/20," "The O'Reilly Factor" and "America's Most Wanted."

Last week, the New Milford resident, who teaches law and justice at Western Connecticut State University, began a new stint on TruTV's "In Session," the successor to CNN's "Court TV." The show airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Jordan will spend the next several months as part of the team covering the trial of Casey Anthony, offering viewers her 20-plus years of experience studying and teaching about violent crime.

Anthony is a 25-year-old Florida woman charged in the 2008 murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if she is convicted.

Periodically during the trial, the host will ask a panel of experts, including Jordan, to comment on, explain or interpret various developments in the courtroom.

"What you have to do is boil a lesson plan down to a 30-second sound bite," she said.

"She's very experienced, thoughtful, and she's good. That's why these shows keep calling her back," said WestConn spokesman Paul Steinmetz.

"It's also excellent exposure for the university," he said. "We've had students say, `I've seen her on TV and just had her in class, so I must be in the right place.'"

But Jordan is more than a "talking head." Her early television experience inspired her to attend law school. Now, she is a practicing attorney who has helped represent defendants in several high-profile criminal cases, including last year's murder trail of Marash Gojcaj in state Superior Court in Danbury.

She also has been an antiques dealer and preservationist who has purchased and restored two lighthouses.

Her specialty is helping select a jury and advising the defense attorney what jurors are likely thinking during the trial.

"The defense is too busy thinking about questions and examining evidence to watch the jurors," she said. "I can tell you who's buying it, who's sleeping, and most times I can tell you who the foreman will be."

Jordan has also done extensive research on violent crime, interviewing convicted serial killers in prison, usually at the killer's request.

"They see me on TV and want to tell me their story," she said. "They talk to me because they know I'm not going to write a book about it."

But, most of all, Jordan enjoys teaching and has turned down offers to practice law full time, because it would mean giving up her WestConn job.

"Anybody who knows me will tell you I always burn the candle at both ends," she said of her busy schedule. "Boredom is my worst enemy."

Contact John Pirro

at jpirro@newstimes.com or 203-731-3342.

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