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Thread: Why does Judge Judy testify?

  1. #1
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He
    knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't
    know."

    According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines
    the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a
    certain thing unless that party so testifies?

    It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain
    thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to
    ignore that knowledge.

    David Ames


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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    David Ames wrote:
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't know."
    Keep telling yourself, "it's only a TV show". The ordinary rules of
    evidence and courtroom decorum do not apply on a TV show. But I think
    Her Honor's assertion may simply be intended, in her own sweet and
    gentle way, to reject any attempt by one party to testify to what the
    OTHER party knows. With few exceptions, all testimony in a trial is
    supposed to be from the witness' own personal knowledge. Unless and
    until we invent an infallible brainwave interpretation telepathy device
    and apply it to the party in question, NOBODY but the party in question
    himself knows what it is that he knows in his own mind. The party on
    the witness stand can testify to what HE knows, or to what he TOLD the
    party in question (if that is relevant), but not to what is going on in
    the other party's head.
    According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a certain thing unless that party so testifies?
    See above. The party whose knowledge is in dispute CAN testify, or
    maybe he doesn't want to and doesn't have to. In either event, the
    party who bears the burden of proof can't meet that burden by
    testifying to something HE doesn't know, i.e., to what's going on in
    the other person's head. The testifying witness can only speak from
    his OWN personal knowledge. That doesn't mean the judge can't INFER
    knowledge from other circumstances. But the testimony itself has to
    be regarding those circumstances, not jumping to the ultimate
    conclusion of what is going on in the other person's head.
    It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to ignore that knowledge.
    If I were the judge I wouldn't let you testify to another person's
    presumed knowledge either. All you can testify to is what YOU know.
    You know you told your opponent X, and you can testify to that. Or
    you can testify that the other party's actions, or other facts, imply
    and indicate that he probably knows X. But you can't testify under
    oath that your opponent KNOWS X because that would require you to get
    inside your opponent's head, which you can't do. It's not just
    semantics. It's 2 different things you would be testifying to, one
    permitted, one not, because you have no direct knowledge of it.

    --
    This posting is for discussion purposes, not professional advice.
    Anything you post on this Newsgroup is public information.
    I am not your lawyer, and you are not my client in any specific legal
    matter.
    For confidential professional advice, consult your own lawyer in a
    private communication.
    Mike Jacobs
    LAW OFFICE OF W. MICHAEL JACOBS
    10440 Little Patuxent Pkwy #300
    Columbia, MD 21044
    (tel) 410-740-5685 (fax) 410-740-4300


  3. #3
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    "David Ames" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't know." According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a certain thing unless that party so testifies? It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to ignore that knowledge. David Ames
    Judge Judy is a terrible jurist. The only decent judge (on reality court
    shows) who even vaguely followed the law was Wapner.



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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    "David Ames" <[email protected]> wrote:
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "Heknows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn'tknow."According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determinesthe facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know acertain thing unless that party so testifies?It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certainthing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses toignore that knowledge.
    Because the parties have waived a legal adjudication and have
    consented to be mini-celebrities on a courtroom version of The Jerry
    Springer Show?


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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    David Ames wrote:
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't know." According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a certain thing unless that party so testifies? It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to ignore that knowledge.
    It seems to me that it is a grave mistake to view Judge Judy as a good
    example of a properly run courtroom.

    Why? Because the show is "Judge Judy" and that's what the viewers want
    to see. The law has nothing to do with it.


  6. #6
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    > On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He
    knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't know." According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a certain thing unless that party so testifies? It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to ignore that knowledge.
    "Judge Judy" is a coutroom-based reality show, not a court of law. She can
    say or do anything she wants.

    --
    John D. Goulden



  7. #7
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    In article <[email protected]>,
    David Ames <[email protected]> wrote:
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "Heknows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn'tknow."According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determinesthe facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know acertain thing unless that party so testifies?
    I suspect that's shorthand for "You don't _know_ that he knows,
    therefore you can't testify that he knows."

    If it were worded "He told me that . . ." at least the testimony is
    about something the witness actually observed.
    It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certainthing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses toignore that knowledge.
    Then you should testify "I told him" not "He knows".

    Seth


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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?


    "David Ames" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    On innumerable occasions, a plaintiff or defendant will testify "He knows .." and Judge Judy will assert, on the contrary, "He doesn't know." According to my understanding, in a bench trial, the judge determines the facts. How does a judge determine that one party doesn't know a certain thing unless that party so testifies? It would certainly be my position that my adversary knows a certain thing FROM ME (because it is true and I told it to him) but chooses to ignore that knowledge. David Ames
    I'm only gonna say this once, which is one more time than I should have
    to: Judge Judy is a television show.


  9. #9
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?


    Mark A wrote:
    Judge Judy is a terrible jurist.
    Agreed. In one case, a defendant presented court documents excusing
    his further financial responsibility in a matter. Judge Judy crumpled
    up his documents and threw them on the floor.

    I mentioned this to a prosecutor, who wondered what was Judge Judy's
    record on appeal. I had to tell her that there is no appeal. Judge
    Judy's court is not a court of law with privileges and safeguards for
    each party. It is a court of final arbitration. Anyone who agrees to
    arbitration of previous judgments in her court is a fool.

    If you will listen to the explanations given by the TV announcer, Judge
    Judy's verdicts are based on "principles" of law, rather than on the
    law and its solemn interpretation.

    My wife doesn't tape Judge Wapner, so I cannot react to your statement
    favoring him..

    David Ames


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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    "Tony" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    It seems to me that it is a grave mistake to view Judge Judy as a good example of a properly run courtroom. Why? Because the show is "Judge Judy" and that's what the viewers want to see. The law has nothing to do with it.
    OTOH, Wapner did a very good job.



  11. #11
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Mike Jacobs <[email protected]> wrote:
    If I were the judge I wouldn't let you testify to another person'spresumed knowledge either. All you can testify to is what YOU know. You know you told your opponent X, and you can testify to that. Oryou can testify that the other party's actions, or other facts, implyand indicate that he probably knows X.
    Can you? I would think you can testify that you saw him do Y and
    heard him say Z, and let the judge (or jury) draw the conclusion that
    he must have known (or believed, or perhaps hoped or guessed) X.

    Seth


  12. #12
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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    "David Ames" <[email protected]> wrote:
    I mentioned this to a prosecutor, who wondered what was Judge Judy's record on appeal. I had to tell her that there is no appeal. Judge Judy's court is not a court of law with privileges and safeguards for each party. It is a court of final arbitration. Anyone who agrees to arbitration of previous judgments in her court is a fool.
    Judge Judy's show is taped in California. Technically it is a real
    court of law. The parties appoint the judge as a pro-tem small claims
    judge authorized to hear their case. All rules of California small
    claims courts apply, with the possible exception that the defendant may
    waive the right to appeal.

    I do not watch her show often. But the times I've seen it she did a
    very good job of deciding things on the law rather than her own whin.

    Stu


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    Default Why does Judge Judy testify?

    Seth Breidbart wrote:
    In article <[email protected]>, Mike Jacobs <[email protected]> wrote:
    If I were the judge I wouldn't let you testify to another person'spresumed knowledge either. All you can testify to is what YOU know. You know you told your opponent X, and you can testify to that. Oryou can testify that the other party's actions, or other facts, implyand indicate that he probably knows X.
    Can you? I would think you can testify that you saw him do Y and heard him say Z, and let the judge (or jury) draw the conclusion that he must have known (or believed, or perhaps hoped or guessed) X.
    You're right, I agree with you, and I reserve the right to blame my
    mistake on excessive speed, late night and poor proofreading. This
    is, after all, just a hobby and no one is paying me or relying on this
    work product for life-changing decisions (Or if they are, they
    should know better by now). I should have written, "you can testify TO
    the other party's actions, or other facts, THAT imply and indicate that
    he probably knows X."

    --
    This posting is for discussion purposes, not professional advice.
    Anything you post on this Newsgroup is public information.
    I am not your lawyer, and you are not my client in any specific legal
    matter.
    For confidential professional advice, consult your own lawyer in a
    private communication.
    Mike Jacobs
    LAW OFFICE OF W. MICHAEL JACOBS
    10440 Little Patuxent Pkwy #300
    Columbia, MD 21044
    (tel) 410-740-5685 (fax) 410-740-4300


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Brown View Post
    Fri, 09 Jun 2006 09:35:28 -0400 from David Ames
    <[email protected]>:

    It may not be quite that bad.

    If I recall correctly, the way these TV courts all work is that
    there's a fund for each case. The plaintiff, if she prevails, is paid
    from that fund, and then the rest is split between defendant and
    plaintiff. I don't think the fund is very large, but given that the
    cases are typically at the level of small claims I don't think
    defendant is actually out of pocket even if she loses.
    ]
    I thought that the fund was simply to pay for any monetary judgements made - so for example if the plaintiff sues for $1,000 and wins, the show pays the plaintiff that amount rather than the defendant. I don't think anyone not suing, or whose claim is dismissed, is given any money, though I presume the show pays for travel to California and pays for hotel accomodation for both plaintiff and defendant.

    Although the defendant isn't paid, they get a free trip to California and the knowledge that even if they lose the case, they don't actually have to pay the damages - the show does, so they don't lose - unlike in a real small claims court whereby they would be financially liable for the award made. If you're being sued for up to $5,000, the shows limit, then you can potentially avoid having to pay a lot of money. This is why the defendants often don't look too concerned when they lose and often admit guilt and liability quite readily to avoid a lecture from the judge.

    The plaintiff has to live with knowing they've effectively let the person they are suing off completely, as they won't be out any money, but the advantage to them is they get the check the same day for the full amount they are awarded, which wouldn't happen in a real small-claims court where enforcing the judgement can be a long and costly process - this is why the people being sued are often clearly not in a position to pay the money - the plaintiff knows they would likely never see any money after a judgement in a real small claims court.

    This arrangement is one aspect of the show which is fake, as Judge Judy will often say "you're going to have to pay this money" to the defendant, which is simply not true - the show is designed to fool you, by the Judge making a clear statement that the defendant will actually pay the money - it's only the small print legal statement at the end of the credits which admits "all monetary awards are paid from a fund maintained by the producer".

    I am from England and although not a laywer, I work for the police department I am fascinated by the law in general and American law in particular, probably because of shows like this and Court TV - TV cameras aren't allowed in British courtrooms.

    I understand that technically Judge Judy and similar shows are courts of final arbitration, but I'm fascinated as to whether it's really true you can't appeal the rulings. I presume you sign a contract giving up your right to sue in a real court and to accept the judgement as final and binding, but couldn't a real judge overturn that contract and make a ruling, thus overturning the judgement and being in effect a court of appeal?

    I have only read of one time when Judge Judy was "overruled" by a New York family court judge when she set up a child supoort payment arrangement, but reading the article carefully Judge Judy claims it was simply an interim arrangement made until the question of child support was resolved in a real court, therefore it wasn't a "judgement" that was overruled. I can't find any other cases of an overrulement, so I assume she really can't be overruled, but I'd be interested to know if this is true.

    Also, I understand the financial awards and how they work, but Judge Judy often drafts "court orders" ordering actual property to be returned within a set amount of days - and the small print in the legal statement at the end of the show states that such transfers of property are "facilitated" by security staff. But if the security staff turn up at your door for the property, presumably they have no legal authority to take property from you if you refuse to hand it over. Therefore you'd have to take your Judge Judy ruling to a real court to get a real court order to enforce it, which presumably could be refused - therefore providing another avenue of "appeal".

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    Heh, I'd always know better than to go to Judge Judy. She's actually my least favorite of all the TV judges, as well--the woman screams "bias." She seems to decide early on who she thinks is right and doesn't budge from that no matter what else is said. She seems to act like a jerk purposely because it's what is expected of her. Not exactly my idea of an epitome of legality. Calling her a "judge" in the proper sense would be much like calling Howard Stern a "journalist" in the proper sense....not so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katja144 View Post
    Heh, I'd always know better than to go to Judge Judy. She's actually my least favorite of all the TV judges, as well--the woman screams "bias." She seems to decide early on who she thinks is right and doesn't budge from that no matter what else is said. She seems to act like a jerk purposely because it's what is expected of her. Not exactly my idea of an epitome of legality. Calling her a "judge" in the proper sense would be much like calling Howard Stern a "journalist" in the proper sense....not so much.
    Possibly, but it's interesting to note that she WAS a real-life family court judge in New York. It would be interesting to know what she was like in a real courtroom!

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