Judge Judith Sheindlin, known to most as Judge Judy, made a name for herself with her no-nonsense attitude, tough talk, and the long, belittling lectures she gives people who appear before her.
But there are some other details about this legal lady and her show that she doesn’t talk about much. Since she’s too modest to reveal them herself, we’ve compiled them here for your pleasure.
The producers are essentially ambulance chasers
The defendants and plaintiffs who appear before Judge Judith Sheindlin are neither assigned to her nor do they seek her out. All that is handled by the honorable judge’s producers. According to a letter obtained by Radar Online, they 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 what better setting is there to have a personal matter settled than in front of millions of strangers?
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 actually 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. Sheindlin herself even confirmed this little-known fact about producer-paid settlements in a wide-ranging interview with the Archive of American Television. If only real court cases worked this way! And that’s not the only money to switch hands on behalf of the good judge…