Judge Judy: Wise purveyor of justice, or loud-mouthed b###h?

The subject line says it all. Have at it!

(I will soon post my own views. Pretty soon.)



Many times while watching Judy and the like, I’ve seen her cut someone off, who seemed to be making a valid point, to make one of her signature “statements”.

Exactly. She’s in show-business, and she’s obviously letting it affect the judgments she makes.

That said, I think if the court system was in it self entertaining, people would go down to the courthouse instead of watching TV all the time. The concept of a showbusiness personality pretending to have the interests of justice in mind at all times is simply offensice to democracy.
At least that’s what I think :wink:

The only upside is that sometimes the cases are so ridiculously trivial that it boggles the mind. I know you americans like to sue each other a lot more than what I’m used to in Europe and Asia, but there are limits.

Anyway, post yer own views now, Mr. OP dude :wink:

— G. Raven

I find it incredibly difficult to believe that she is actually a judge. On The_People’s_Court, the judge almost always explains his decision, and usually cites some precedent or statute. Judy’s explanations of her judgements are rarely more sophisticated than “I don’t like you”, and I can’t recall her ever citing a single precedent or statute. Furthermore, she routinely insults the litigants and accuses them of lying. No judge should ever accuse a witness of lying, unless there is proof beyond reasonable doubt that they lied. It’s one thing to say “I find the other person’s testimony more compelling”, but it’s quite another to outright say “You’re lying”.

I’ve only seen the program a few times, but it strikes me that many of the contestants (I refuse to call them litigants – this is a TV show, after all) don’t need a legal remedy as much as they need to have some sense slapped into them.

Based on that asessment, I think she does a fine job.

I think that Judge Judy is officially an arbitrator. The participants agree to submit to binding arbitration in lieu of having their cases decided in the real courts. The upside is a chance to get on TV; the downside is having half the country think you’re a flaming idiot.

I don’t know if she was previously a judge - many arbitrators are former judges, but not all of them.

Judy Sheindlin was a New York Family Court judge from 1982 through 1996. And having seen the show more times than I care to admit, I agree with kunilou that she does a good job of knocking some sense into people who clearly need it. OTOH, presiding over a television “court” does give her too much latitude to dismiss people she doesn’t like. What I find most annoying is the taxi announcement made by her and her husband, Judge Jerry.

Alrighty then…

There were 2 cases that had me staring at the TV in utter disbelief.

  1. A guy sued his GF’s friend because she e-mailed him a “virus” (which, as it turns out, was simply a joke). The guy won the price of a new monitor, new mouse, new printer… all things that were damaged by the virus. Did JJ bother to do any research into technology? Is this a rhetorical question?

  2. A witness claimed that an event happened on the 23rd of July (or some such date). JJ grilled him, asking if he was positive that it happened on the 25th. He said that yes, he would not tell a lie. It was as she asked him. She then turned on him, calling him a liar. Switch the dates, trap someone in your own twisted logic, and cut him off at the pass. Yeah, that’s fair.

I also have a problem with her “track record” of weeding out liars. I’m convinced that she actually believes she has this magical ability. Truly, when you call someone a liar then don’t allow them to defend themselves, it’s easy to delude yourself like that.

And I’ve heard it said that real life judges and lawyers claim that she wouldn’t survive for 2 seconds out in the real world.

Some interesting facts about that show: Scouts for the show scour real courts for loon jobs and nut cases, and offer them a chance to take their cases to JJ. The litigants are given free travel and accommodations, plus $100. In addition, the show pays all cash settlements. And the litigants are encouraged to act like nut jobs on the show. So very little of what you see is real.

And yet, I continue to watch. Kind of like staring at a car wreck.

Oh, BTW, I had a great idea for a SNL skit. This would have to have been in November.

Can you imagine if Bush and Gore had agreed to have their election dispute settled on JJ? The mind boggles at the potential jocularity.

One of the things that made me want to be a lawyer was, oddly, Joseph Wapner.

As the first TV judge I remember, on the first version of People’s Court, he was fair and compassionate in dealing with people. I remember his articulating basic principles of California law. It all seemed part of a tapestry that fascinated me.

Judy Sheindlin is completely different. Although I haven’t watched her extensively, I have seen some frightening things. In a damages case against a couple that let their dog run free, the couple brought to her attention a law from their state that permitted dogs to run free. Her response was that she was not bound by the laws of any particular state.

In general, her manner and attitude - and words - often indicate she’s pre-judged the verdict without hearing all the evidence, something forbidden by the canons of judidical ethics.

She’s now a poor excuse for a real judge. If you contend that she’s now a TV judge, and doesn’t have to act correctly… I point out that JOe Wapner did a fine job of doing both.

  • Rick

She’s a bitch, she doesn’t do what a judge in the United States should. If she was put into a real court of law with a jury she would have been kicked out so fast.

It’s a much different show nowadays that it was in its first 1 or 2 seasons.
Back then, she was much less vociferous (i.e. more toned-down) and more in line with what most people consider judicious. When the show really took off in popularity, that’s when she began to surrender completely to her haughty, arbitrary, and irrational side. I think it’s a result of the show biz axiom of “giving the people what they apparently want”, and falling into the trap of “too much of a good thing”.
When the show first came on, I was quite taken with her shrewd and witty personality. Now, the show is just another trailer-trash car wreck. Unwatchable. (But she’s still a more qualified and unbiased judge than Clarence Thomas.)
Incidentally, SNL has done a takeoff on Judge Judy, with Cheri Oteri as Sheindlin. It was OK.

I became a big fan of the original People’s Court many years ago because it was one of the first programs to (however imperfectly) show examples of the American justice system in action, without one having to hie on down to the county courthouse and listen to hours of lawyerly droning. Certainly a part of that early success was due to Judge Wapner, who generally treated the litigants seriously, no matter how absurd their claims, and seemed genuinely interested in assuring justice for wronged party.

Then I left the country for ten years. When I came back, it was to find Wapner off the air and the TV schedule littered with dozens of look-alike court shows, usually featuring judges apparently selected more for their ability to grandstand shamelessly than to express the applicable laws, and who appear to be more concerned about judging a person’s lifestyle and morals than the merits of the actual case.

Concerning Judge Judy Scheindlin: can’t bear the schreeching, sanctimonious cow, and IMO her cavalier handling of court procedure is an utter joke. Even by the admittedly loose standards of small-claims proceedings, I find her behavior totally unacceptable. She appears to base her decisions entirely on the submitted documents, and routinely uses cross-examination as an excuse to verbally abuse the litigants rather than to verify or analyze the evidence submitted. As mentioned elswhere in this thread, she rarely makes any attempt to quote case law or explain her reasoning on a given decision. What really gets my goat, however, is the contemptuous attitude and total lack of compassion she routinely displays for the litigants who elect to be on her show.

Hubby Jerry, over on the People’s Court, is a sarcastic loudmouth as well, but at least shows signs that he is willing to listen to the litigants (although he shares Juy’s unfortunate tendency to ask a question, then talk over the answer). He also pays attention to the relevant case law for the jurisdiction in which the litigants live, and will at least attempt to explain his reasoning behind a decision.

BTW, (shudder) am I the only one who gets a serious case of the creeps trying to imagine what life in the Scheindlin household must be like?

Whew, glad to get that off my chest at last…

What’s her husband like? He seems a LITTLE better, the one time I saw him, but not much.

I can’t stand Judge Judy. To paraphrase her, I wouldn’t piss on her leg…if she were on fire.

(And what’s up with those stupid lace collars-you’re a JUDGE lady, let’s be more professional!)

I am personally acquainted with a NY lawyer who brought cases before J. Judy in the family court. I was told that she acted exactly the same then as she does now on TV. Frightening, eh?

I’ll take “Loud Mouthed Bitch” for $1000, Mr. OP.

Seriously, she yells, screeches, and makes it up as she goes. The only benifit is that you wouldn’t have to pay if you lose.

Judge Judy is slightly more tolerable than Dr. Laura, but only just.

tdn, you ignorant slut.
Ok, I saw the computer case you mentioned and had the same reaction you did. But in general, she serves a good function; she breaks things down into understandable decisions. Few people give a pair of dingo kidneys about precedent and legal formalities, they want to see “common sense” justice. (look at the Florida election) Judge Judy gives her cases the solemnity they deserve: very little. But on the occasions where things are more than trivial, she tones it way down, especially with children. Her rulings break the cases down to the simplest parts and are not usually unfair. And the priority is enternainment.


Oh, sure, pinqy, people just want “common sense”. They don’t want what’s fair, legal or right, just something simple. :rolleyes:

I think JJ is doing a big disservice to the legal system. She seems to have no concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” let alone the idea that rule of law might just be more important than personal prejudice. She seems to delight in making people pay for being a schmuck. Well, we all may feel that way, but, luckily for us, there is no crime in being a schmuck.

I think she’s far too quick in making alleged perpetrators “pay” for things they may (or may well have not) done. The producers more than likely feel that making people pay somehow “empowers” anyone sitting at home who felt they got a raw deal last time they made an insurance claim or got their car fixed. It’s judicio-tainment at its worst.

I used to nag my Mom for watching over-the-top soap operas; now I nag her for watching Judge Judy. :slight_smile: