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The Truth About TV Judges

June 30, 2008

Ever wonder what the deal is with those “judges” on tv?  In case you have not already guessed, they are arbitrators.  According to The Straight Dope, some TV judges were actual judges prior to becoming television personalities:

The People’s Court

Joseph Wapner was a practicing attorney for 10 years and then served as a judge for 18 years.  “He often took the time to explain the specific principles of law that informed his decisions.”

Ed Koch, the former New York City mayor, was a lawyer, but had never been a judge.

Jerry Sheindlin, served as a judge on the New York Supreme Court.  The article does not say how long he was on the bench.

Marilyn Milian served as a judge for less than two years.

Judge Mills Lane

Lane was a prosecutor before becoming a deputy sheriff and boxing referee.  “He was the ref for the infamous 1997 heavyweight bout between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson that ended after Tyson repeatedly bit Holyfield’s ears.”

Judge Judy

Judy Sheindlin – wife of Jerry – was a family court judge in New York.  “She seldom exlains the legal basis for her rulings” and was overturned when she went beyond her authority when she decided child custody and visitation rights during a division of property proceeding because the New York Court ruled that an acutal judge, not an arbitrator, must decided such issues.  The show also pays each litigant a small fee and covers the cost of the judgment awarded to the winner.

The comments are also interesting.

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