pageok
pageok
pageok
Law Student on the People's Court:
So this clip is old, and it's from a TV show not a real court, but it's so painful and yet engaging I though readers might be interested. It's of a second-year law student appearing on "the People's Court" and getting his rear-end handed to him for not being respectful to the judge.

Ouch! Of course, the irony is that this sort of disrespect is quite common on TV shows about the courts, and this is a TV show. Oh well.

  Thanks to Sua Sponte for the link.
FantasiaWHT:
Aw, I want to see the after in the hallway!
3.23.2009 8:27pm
Downfall:
It's hilarious for a fake judge to pretend she deserves the respect accorded to those who actually serve the public and, for the most part, are highly talented individuals who could earn far more on the private market. It's like me putting on a labcoat and demanding that everybody call me a Doctor and act like I'm competent to perform surgery.
3.23.2009 8:27pm
TalkingHead:
Of course, the fake judge and TV programs like this bring more disrepute to the legal profession than any petulant attorney ever did.

I'm always amazed at judicial exceptionalism too with respect to the First Amendment, even carving out exceptions to sanction lawyers who dare to criticize the tribunal. O'Connor's very thin skin to judicial criticism comes to mind and her hyperbolic comparisons to Nazi Germany when judges faced criticism by admittedly gas-bag Republican legislators. Perhaps the appointments process is not nearly rough enough. We need judges with spine, not ones who require approbation.
3.23.2009 8:33pm
rs:
Well, she was a real judge, I think. So the more apt analogy is a former surgeon "putting on a labcoat and demanding that everybody call [him] a Doctor and act like [he's] competent to perform surgery." Not that unreasonable.
3.23.2009 8:36pm
david (mail):
Pot calling kettle black.
3.23.2009 8:47pm
JonC:

So the more apt analogy is a former surgeon "putting on a labcoat and demanding that everybody call [him] a Doctor and act like [he's] competent to perform surgery."


It would be more apt if the former surgeon put on his labcoat in the middle of a three-ring circus with bears and clowns jumping all around him, while he waves a big fake foam scalpel. TV court is not real court, regardless of whether the officiant used to be a real judge.
3.23.2009 8:47pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
I find judge judy to be horrid in that regard. At least PC tries to remain true to legal principals. JJ doesn't even pretend all that much.
3.23.2009 8:52pm
David Shulman (mail) (www):
First of all, before anyone insults her anymore, why don't you look up her credentials? She is not under any circumstances a "fake" judge, or a "fake" attorney. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Milian
3.23.2009 9:07pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
I think it is a mistake to let real legal professionals anywhere near court television shows. It isn't real court and attempts to actually treat it like one clash with the entertainment based approach these shows have.

Either they should run it like a court room or they should run it like a circus. But they shouldn't switch back and forth between the two formats in mid show, because the appropriate behavior for one format is very inappropriate for the other.

They should also go out of their way to pick a judge who isn't an asshole. I shouldn't be filled with an urge to strangle her within 10 seconds of her beginning to speak. Unless encouraging violence against judges is the point of the show?
3.23.2009 9:10pm
jccamp (mail):
From "And Justice For All" (1979)

[Judge Rayford fires a gun in his courtroom, drawing attention]
"Judge Rayford: Gentlemen, need I remind you you're in a court of law?"
3.23.2009 9:11pm
Sigh:
Yeah, I'm not sure who I respect less...
3.23.2009 9:17pm
Jim at FSU (mail):

First of all, before anyone insults her anymore, why don't you look up her credentials? She is not under any circumstances a "fake" judge, or a "fake" attorney. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Milian


From the judges I've met, becoming a judge is about who you know, now what you know or how well you know it. Obviously you can't be dangerously stupid, but being selected for a judgeship is not a meritocracy, unless you count networking and political gamesmanship to be merits.

And what a surprise, she's a female minority who happens to have spent her whole professional career in Florida government legal practice before being nominated by the Florida governor. And her husband happens to be a prominent judge. Gosh, what a happy pile of coincidences.
3.23.2009 9:21pm
More importantly . . .:

not sure who I respect less


The pompus ass of a "judge," obviously. I don't care what her professional accomplishments are, either as a member of the Bar or the Bench: she's on a COURT TV SHOW. He can laugh in her face (and after that outburst, he should have), tell her to go to Hell, and waltz out of the courtroom . . . because she's not a judge up there. His first words after "you're an embarrasment" should have been "No, I'm not the one playing a judge on daytime TV. Now what, you going to find me in contempt of fake court?"
3.23.2009 9:27pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
And this wasn't a wild guess I made from observing judges, this is what a number of judges have told me in a sort of matter-of-fact way when I asked politely about how one went about becoming a judge. Since step one is always "get nominated," being politically connected is huge. The next big thing is fitting in whatever particular category the nominating authority is looking to pick someone from. If they're not sure whether they want to pick a minority or a woman and you're both, that's another huge step in the right direction. Again, actual qualifications are more akin to "have you done anything unethical or illegal that might make you a liability" as opposed to "are you a legal genius or just average or a complete twit" or "do you have the right temperament to be a judge?"
3.23.2009 9:31pm
john dickinson (mail):
What do so many people here hold it against her that she's a "TV Judge"? The participants contractually agree to give her authority over their cases, so why shouldn't she demand the respect such authority entails?
3.23.2009 10:25pm
W:
"Judge" Milian went to Georgetown. W00t!
3.23.2009 10:33pm
More importantly . . .:
She's contractually entitled to resolve their dispute as part of a bad TV program, not be treated like a judge.
3.23.2009 10:41pm
Curt Fischer:
So many questions! What is the "next forum" for this guy? Is that what the hallway is?

And without knowing what was in the contract the People signed, its hard to know if the "judge" is due any real deference, isn't it?
3.23.2009 10:58pm
A Law Dawg:
Aren't shows like this televised arbitrations? Surely the 2L shouldn't act like an asshole in an arbitration.
3.23.2009 11:00pm
Strict:

And what a surprise, she's a female minority


Yeah, that's why she gets everything in life handed to her.
3.23.2009 11:10pm
TRE:
The show pays the judgment in these shows.
3.23.2009 11:10pm
q:

From the judges I've met, becoming a judge is about who you know, now what you know or how well you know it. Obviously you can't be dangerously stupid, but being selected for a judgeship is not a meritocracy, unless you count networking and political gamesmanship to be merits.

And what a surprise, she's a female minority who happens to have spent her whole professional career in Florida government legal practice before being nominated by the Florida governor. And her husband happens to be a prominent judge. Gosh, what a happy pile of coincidences.

So you'd advocate being disrespectful in a state court? And if not, would you advocate being disrespectful in an administrative hearing? How about arbitration? Are only Article 3 judges prestigious enough to give a litigant a lecture on properly addressing a judge?
3.23.2009 11:23pm
Bama 1L:
Okay, so it's a binding arbitation, but really it's a game show.
3.23.2009 11:23pm
Owen Courreges (mail):
She was correct; the student did behave in a manner that was petulant and disrespectful. On the other hand, her response was to lose her temper and go into histrionics, which is equally bad. Too many judges (and in this case, a former judge) seem to believe that civility in a courtroom is a one-way street. State rules governing judicial conduct typically mandate respect and courtesy towards parties and their attorneys.

Moreover, the commentary here is correct. This was TV court, not real court. The same procedures do not apply, nor does the same expectation of respect on either side of the bench. The judges are expected to lose their tempers routinely, and the guests are expected to provoke them. Didn't she get the memo?
3.23.2009 11:27pm
Strict:

but really it's a game show.


No, it's not.

Games shows are spinning a wheel or guessing survey responses or guessing the price of that vacuum or answering trivia about Orientalist Art for 1000 please, not getting yelled at by a lawyer in a robe and paying money for something dumb you did.
3.23.2009 11:32pm
RowerinVa (mail):
What's terrible is how similar this "judge" is to a number of real live federal judges that we litigators have to deal with in practice. Life tenure seems to bring out the raving nutjob in some article threes. What's really rich is that some of the worst offenders -- demonstrating hypocrisy not unlike what's on display in the video -- like to go on the lecture circuit and tut-tut about lack of civility in the bar, when they can't find it in themselves to be civil to lawyers or litigants. If you think this craziness couldn't happen in the real world, you haven't been a litigator very long.
3.23.2009 11:42pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

No, it's not.

Games shows are spinning a wheel or guessing survey responses or guessing the price of that vacuum or answering trivia about Orientalist Art for 1000 please,
not getting yelled at by a lawyer in a robe and paying money for something dumb you did.


The point is the last part is wrong. Neither party pays. Each pair comes in with a $5k pot provided by the show. Any judgement is paid out and then the rest is split.

I've seen a number of cases that looked contrived just so the people could get a quick $2500 then go on being friends.
3.24.2009 1:43am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Maybe she's irritated because she works in what is essentially a court themed circus and she may be worried that people (the ones that matter, lawyers) might not be taking her seriously anymore. Casual disregard for her authority as a judge? Oh horror!

In response to gentleman who asked if I was advocating that people should be rude in court. (See post at http://volokh.com/posts/1237854052.shtml#552554), I respond that I have already pointed out (http://volokh.com/posts/1237854052.shtml#552507) that this is not a court and she is not a judge. It is a game show and she is the host. If this causes her embarrassment, maybe she should have asked for more money or refused the job entirely.

I don't think I would have volunteered if I were the 2L. Going on court tv a year before you come before the bar to get permission to practice law can only end badly. Anyone know what happened to him?
3.24.2009 2:26am
wooga:
Respect should always be paid to the judge or arbitrator when in session, even if in a 'circus' situation like this. Interrupting repeatedly (and not apologizing for it) fully deserves this sort of berating.

Now, in chambers, with no reporter or public, feel free to be as much of a jackass as you want. That's what I do, and despite threats and insults from the judge in chambers, they never do anything because I'm ridiculously polite and reverential in session.
3.24.2009 3:36am
BerkeleyBeetle:
For those saying no respect is due because it's a game show, having seen, say Iron Chef, I don't buy that logic. Iron Chef is a cooking-themed game show the way this is a court-themed one, and folks are expected not to go at it with the food judges.

"This food is bad."

"That's your opinion."

"Yes, and mine is the opinion that matters, so..."
3.24.2009 3:46am
CLS (mail) (www):
Is it not the case that these "courts" are in fact private arbitration with a qualified judge acting in accordance with law? I was under the impression that in the areas of law where they are allowed to operate they are treated precisely as a court would be. California, where the show is taped, recognizes such rulings in these private courts.

Based on that I would then say she deserves the same respect as any other judge. I will not comment on how much respect that ought to be. : )
3.24.2009 6:22am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
His first words after "you're an embarrasment" should have been "No, I'm not the one playing a judge on daytime TV. Now what, you going to find me in contempt of fake court?"


And then the editors will just cut that part out before airing. You don't think JJ has ever been 'told' inside her own fake courtroom? You aren't just watching fake 'justice', you are watching fake justice with everuything but the fluff edited out.
3.24.2009 7:35am
Wallace:
A lot of commenters are blaming the judge because she's not a "real" judge, or the proceeding wasn't a real proceeding.

Her point was that when someone has the power to make a decision about something you want, you should treat them with respect. That seems like a real point to me.
3.24.2009 7:59am
NaG (mail):
Daytime judge shows are akin to publicized binding arbitration. And I don't know about you, but if a third party is going to have the power to make a decision over who wins my case, I'm going to be respectful. The rest of you can insult your appointed arbitrator at your own peril.

I won't waste my time watching the clip, but here's a secret: these shows are meant to be entertainment. The judge will go over the top on people and hand out a smack-down because that gets ratings. If watching small-claims court was really all that entertaining by itself, they'd be trying to market that instead.

So why would a real judge bother to become a TV judge? Here's a few reasons: (1) you make a lot more money, (2) you can be as crazy as you want to be and all that matters are the ratings, (3) no more criminal docket, (4) the docket is only as long as you want it to be, (5) your decisions will never be overturned, (6) you become a celebrity, (7) you don't have to deal with know-it-all lawyers anymore, (8) you get to admit lie-detector results into evidence.

Besides, I have seen TV judges apply actual law. In one case I saw the judge actually take a break so she could review California statutes regarding the use of a leash on dogs. So I don't think TV judges throw the law out the window and do whatever they want. In part, I think TV judges like to think that their show teaches viewers about the rudiments of contract and tort law, along with the crucial lesson that credibility is the most important asset at trial. You can be absolutely in the right and still lose because nobody believes a word out of your fool mouth.
3.24.2009 8:21am
Steve Kincaid:
... when someone has the power to make a decision about something you want, you should treat them with respect. That seems like a real point to me.


Kim Jong-il has the power to make a decision about peace on the Korean peninsula.

Should Kim Jong-il be treated with respect?
3.24.2009 8:24am
Anderson (mail):
Surely the 2L shouldn't act like an asshole in an arbitration.

One might even venture the suggestion that no one should act like an asshole, anywhere.

(Except in blog comments, of course.)
3.24.2009 8:51am
Logic Checker:

Kim Jong-il has the power to make a decision about peace on the Korean peninsula.

Should Kim Jong-il be treated with respect?



Only if you don't want to die.
3.24.2009 9:26am
Logic Checker:
By the way, I've seen that episode of the show, and the clip is taken out of context in that you don't see how much crap Milian put up with from the guy before she went ballistic. Some other people would have come down from the bench and kicked his ass.
3.24.2009 9:31am
Prof. S. (mail):
More important question - is this guy now practicing, and if so, where?
3.24.2009 9:32am
Mak (mail):
What I fail to understand is why people think that a Judge who sits in a tribunal which is based purely upon voluntary action and express consent, deserves less respect than a "judge" sitting in an organ of the state, and which excercises its power only by virtue of coercion. These people have it exactly backwards.
3.24.2009 10:05am
Steve Kincaid:
Kim Jong-il has the power to make a decision about peace on the Korean peninsula.

Should Kim Jong-il be treated with respect?

Only if you don't want to die.


In a well-known State of the Union address, Mr Bush, the then-president, characterized the DPRK as a part of his infamous “axis of evil”. That characterization was not respectful towards Kim Jong-il.

Yet, Mr “Logic Checker”, it's evident that Mr Bush remains among the living. Furthermore, as Mr Bush made his disrespectful remarks acting in his official capacity as head of state, it's worth noting that the United States has not died.
3.24.2009 10:07am
RainerK:
... when someone has the power to make a decision about something you want, you should treat them with respect. That seems like a real point to me.


Civility is even more important in adversarial settings - if the parties are interested in a resolution and that 2L did behave like a jerk.

Having said that, suppose the law is clearly on my side, should I expect the judge could rule against me unless I am appropriately deferential?
3.24.2009 10:14am
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Having said that, suppose the law is clearly on my side, should I expect the judge could rule against me unless I am appropriately deferential?


This is where the show putting up the money comes in, I think. Because the show puts up the money the judge is free to make any ruling whatsoever and the participants are made at least somewhat whole by the the pot splitting. Other than, I suppose, the extremely rare case of a successful counterclaim that shouldn't have worked.

Actually, that's one area where their algorithm falls a little short I think. There is always more upside for a party making a claim than for one who makes no claim. Milian may be contientious about following the law but others in the genre are not nearly so concerned with formalities.
3.24.2009 10:46am
NaG (mail):
RainerK: "Having said that, suppose the law is clearly on my side, should I expect the judge could rule against me unless I am appropriately deferential?"

I suppose you should consider whether you want to take chances. I think a good judge will always rule on the merits, but you aren't guaranteed to have a good judge.

A lack of deference may not bite you in the instant case, but judges talk to each other. If word gets around that you are a cuss of a lawyer, you will find all the judges giving you less and less leeway, or none at all.
3.24.2009 11:23am
Logic Checker:

In a well-known State of the Union address, Mr Bush, the then-president, characterized the DPRK as a part of his infamous "axis of evil". That characterization was not respectful towards Kim Jong-il.

Yet, Mr "Logic Checker", it's evident that Mr Bush remains among the living. Furthermore, as Mr Bush made his disrespectful remarks acting in his official capacity as head of state, it's worth noting that the United States has not died.



Then your example is a bad analogy since it has nothing to do with showing contempt for someone who is sitting in judgment of you. Also, my comment was a joke. Get a sense of humor.
3.24.2009 12:01pm
David Schwartz (mail):
What is the "next forum"? Is there a "People's Appeals Court"? If she finds him in criminal contempt, is there a "People's Prison" he can be confined in?

It's kind of sad that she doesn't get the joke.
3.24.2009 1:09pm
Per Son:
I would assume that any decision can be appealed through the very very narrow procedures available to anyone in an arbitration. Not sure if FAA applies because of the amounts of money, but my guess state law would come into play.
3.24.2009 1:39pm
markm (mail):
The judge was over the top, if not an out-and-out a**hole, but if that law student doesn't learn from this experience, his first time in a real courtroom will end up with him getting free room and board...

And what's with this "female minority" thing? Her parents may have been born in Cuba, but she's as white as David Duke.
3.24.2009 6:44pm
FWB (mail):
Not being an attorney but a PhD scientist who has read well over 150,000 pages of law books, legal opinions, and commentary on the Constitution, I have reached a point where I hold all judges and our judicial system in contempt. My life experiences have resulted in an understanding that the law is all too often bent, twisted, and screwed around with through semantics and politics. Law would do well to follow science and the scientific method.

Just because the judge has the power to lock one up for contempt does not make the judge correct nor does it make the judge "respectable". Although one should "respect" the office of judge, the attitude and behavior of many, many members of the judicial branch have destroyed any need or desire to grant respect. FEAR of the judge and the judge's ability to punish is not respect. In resorting to force(punishment for contempt), the judge behaves in a manner no different from the worst criminal/gang member.

I would like to see every judge put in his/her place by requiring every judge to read Blackstone


For, whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society, it must be decided by the voice of the society itself: there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to.

Sir William Blackstone, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book I, Chp3, pg.205/6



and having a placard placed in every courtroom that states:

"The People Court Room #### - Judge So-and-So, Caretaker"

We the People are in charge. We the People are superior to the judiciary. Judges SERVE us. We the People do not serve the judges.
3.25.2009 5:38pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.