But there are some other details about this legal lady and her show that she doesn’t talk about all that much. Since she’s too modest to reveal them herself, we’ve compiled them here for your reading pleasure.
The defendants and plaintiffs who appear before Judge Judy are neither assigned to her, nor do they seek her out.
All of that is handled by the honorable judge’s producers. According to a letter obtained by Radar Online, the producers headhunt through small claims courts for cases that’d be fun for the rest of the country to watch on television. In the letter, producer Julie Turner entices a defendant into bringing his or her case to Judge Judy with the promise of appearing on television, because let’s face it there’s no better place to have a personal matter settled. Producers pay the fines. Even though the show claims all the decisions are legally binding, they really aren’t. That’s because the fines Judy doles out aren’t paid by the cases’ losers, as would happen in real-life court cases.
They’re paid by producers. In the same letter inviting the unknown defendant to appear on the show, Turner promises that even if this anonymous person loses the case, he or she won’t be responsible for any fees or penalties. Any money comes from the producers, which is a sweet deal for most of the people who appear on the show, as they tend to have little money. If only real court cases worked this way! And that’s not the only money to switch hands on behalf of the good judge…
Everyone gets paid:
While it may not be as profitable as hitting the Powerball, appearing on Judge Judy is a financial win-win situation for both the plaintiffs and the defendants. If anything, it’s probably the closest thing to an all-expenses-paid vacation that some of them will ever see. Turner’s letter goes on to say that in addition to paying for the case’s outcome, the show also pays appearance fees to all litigants who appear on the program, along with travel expenses for them and any witnesses they wish to bring along.
Of course, those witnesses have to have something to do with the case, but still, a free trip to Los Angeles will entice anyone to say anything, which often leads to Judge Judy’s next little-known fact.
Obviously, learning that parts, if not all, of a reality show are staged isn’t much of a surprise these days. But the makers of Judge Judy can deny responsibility for some of the fakery…because some of the people who appear on the show simply fabricate entire cases for them.
Back in 2010, Vice reported that Jonathan Coward and his friends Brian and Kate concocted an insane story involving two broken televisions and a dead cat in order to get on the show. Coward got the idea from another friend who appeared on the show in the ’90s, with an actual case. Producers took the bait and flew Coward and his three friends out. After the taping, the trio celebrated by renting a convertible and drinking champagne in a hot tub for the rest of the day.
How did it feel to take advantage of Judge Judy? When asked, Coward said, “It felt awesome! It felt so good.” And no, he shouldn’t feel bad, because…She’s not a judge.
Faking it as a Judge:
Though Judith Sheindlin was appointed a judge by Mayor Ed Koch in 1982, she does not preside as a real judge on television. The set has all the accessories and details of a courtroom, but what Judge Judy does at most is arbitration. As reported by Consumerist, Judge Judy, and other television courts, operate under a contract of adhesion, meaning they “are not bound by real rules of procedure, evidence, or even behavior.” So, on her show, Judge Judy isn’t a judge making a legal decision. She’s more of a mediator trying to solve other people’s problems.
Beating down a glorified middle school vice principal:
She might’ve taken down a school When Tony Robb’s mother sent him to Cornerstone Christian School in Clearlake, CA, she didn’t think her son would get locked in a storage closet for hours a day, but that’s what happened. They later appeared before Judge Judy, hoping she could get them their tuition money back.
They never could have predicted what followed. The defendants’ testimony revealed that the majority of the staff not only lacked the necessary skills to deal with special-needs students like Tony, but they even lacked bachelor’s degrees. The principal only held an Associate degree. In case you’re not informed about the requirements of a school administrator, they go far beyond attending a two-year school. Even worse: the superintendent only had a high school diploma. Following a justifiable tirade, Sheindlin awarded Tony and his mother the total of the tuition money. Sometime later, the school was apparently closed completely.
She’s inspired others to do good:
Marilyn Mosby, who prosecuted the 2015 case for the wrongful death of Freddy Gray cut her teeth on Judge Judy.
Back in 2000, the then-Tuskegee University student appeared before Judge Judy, suing her neighbor for throwing a baby shower in her apartment, which destroyed the residence. That must’ve been one wild shower. According to the Daily News, Mosby handled herself like a pro, bringing photographic evidence of the destruction with her. She ultimately won her case, and from there, went on to study at Boston College Law School. The rest is history.
Keywords: Court, Judge, Law, Court Case, Contract of Adhesion