Jean Casarez is a correspondent for CNN covering a wide variety of stories for the network including legal and crime, investigation and breaking news. She is based in the network’s New York bureau.
Casarez broke the news to the country of 2017’s mass Las Vegas shooting with her overnight reporting from the Vegas strip. She also covered the breaking news of New York’s 2016 Chelsea bombing case, and has been the network’s correspondent for the Larry Nassar sexual assault case and sentencing hearing, Bill Cosby’s arrest, trial and conviction for indecent sexual assault, West Virginia’s chemical water spill and O.J. Simpson’s release from prison. She is currently involved in reporting the criminal case against Harvey Weinstein.
Casarez found and pursued the case of a man who is in the midst of a 70 year prison sentence for breaking 13 bones of his infant son. From day one James Duncan proclaimed his innocence. Casarez took an in depth look at the evidence getting interviews with Duncan himself in prison and key players on both sides. Those interviews became a prime time documentary for CNN “Broken Bones…Shattered Lives.”
The court has now ordered for Duncan to have a hearing this fall to determine if his verdict should be overturned based on new evidence that his son actually had metabolic bone disease.
Casarez has done other long form work for the network including Jon Benet’s Murder, the Drew Peterson case, Bill Cosby’s rise and fall along with an upcoming documentary on the 40th anniversary of the arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
She also covered court proceedings involving Anna Nicole Smith in Florida and the Bahamas covering the International legal aspect of Smith’s untimely death.
In 2011, Casarez flew to Lima Peru for the CNN networks to cover the arrest of Joran van der Sloot in the murder of a Peruvian college student. While there she and her crew were able to obtain access to Peru’s maximum security prison Castro Castro, interviewing inmates and Peru’s Director of Prisons about the country’s correctional system.
When Court TV became known as In Session in 2009 she covered the high profile trials of George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony, Conrad Murray and Jodi Arias. Casarez got the first sit down interview with the Zimmerman defense team of Mark O’Mara and Don West for the CNN networks. Additionally, she sat down on the eve of Casey Anthony’s death penalty trial with her attorney Cheney Mason for an in depth look at the challenge before him.
Before joining CNN, she was a correspondent for Turner Broadcasting’s network Court TV, joining the network in 2003. In her role she covered high profile legal proceedings around the country including O.J. Simpson’s kidnapping trial, the civil rights trial of Edgar Ray Killen, Kobe Bryant, the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, Scott Peterson’s sentencing verdict and the criminal trial of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper Brian David Mitchell
Casarez, who is a member of the Nevada and Texas bars, is also a licensed attorney in the U.S. Southern District Court of Texas.
Before working at the network level, she was the weekend anchor and reporter for KOLO-TV in Reno Nevada. Prior to that, she produced the newsmagazine show First Edition and served as the City Hall reporter and fill-in anchor at KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas.
Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Casarez graduated from the University of Southern California and received her Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. While in law school, she won first place in a statewide Moot Court competition and assisted in preparing a Writ of Certiorari for the United States Supreme Court. She also clerked with the Nevada firm of Gallagher and Tratos while a law student.