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Old 08-11-2009, 10:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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TV Judge Shows

This may belong in politics so mods feel free to move it.

My wife enjoy's watching judge alex and the like on daytime tv occasionally. I've watched a few episodes and I'm curious to know: a) are these people real judges? b)where is there jurisdiction? c) it seems like they are being paid additional compensation in addition to their judges salary so how is that not a bribe, or atleast buying justice?

Judge Judy makes millions with her show. Tv shows have producers and these types of shows thrive on drama. So from where I'm sitting it seems like the producers of the show have an unfair influence on dispensing justice.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's pretty simple. These aren't "real" judges, although a lot of them have judicial experience. Technically they are arbitrators who review civil cases that are filed (usually in CA or NY) that are dismissed. The decisions are binding, and each party to the case is paid a stipend to appear. Any judgement against them is typically deducted from that stipend.

The "judges" are not and can not be sitting judges. They would have to resign from the bench in order to appear on TV, so they are not getting paid by the taxpayers in whatever venue. It would be a huge conflict of interest for a sitting judge to appear on a TV show to render legal opinions.

Is it fair to both parties? I'd argue that it is because of the transparency the show itself provides. If they don't act fairly, the viewing public is going to figure that out pretty quickly and not want to appear.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think most of them at one time were actual judges.. but they can't actually preside over "real" courtrooms because of the conflict of interest that Jazz mentioned.

What real court do you know of that pays a fee to both parties and the losers judgement is taken out of said fee??
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The producers for these shows scour the small claims filings and then try to get people to come on and settle there. My ex filed against one of her roommates for not paying several months bills and Judge Mathis's producers called asking if they wanted to come up to Chicago to be on the show. They were gonna get paid a little bit just for appearing, but it would have been so redneck it wasn't worth putting your face to it.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, these shows usually have the Jerry Springer-like defendants-plaintiffs on them.

I used to watch them pretty heavily, til I got burned out on them.

Judge Wapner and Judy were my favorites.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, I rarely watch them but they are on my tv on occasion when my wife watches. Never understood how the system worked
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As somebody has already point out, these are basically arbitrations that both parties agree to but they are only legally binding as far as the scope of the arbitration goes.

In one case "Judge Judy" made a ruling on child custody and visitation rights and that portion of the arbitration was overturned in court because (a) it was outside the agreed bounds of the arbitration and (b) an arbitrator simply isn't permitted to rule on something as important as this... and rightly so!
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