Sunday, January 29, 2012

The People's Court: Justice or Just Us?

                                                   photo credit: pvera via photopin cc

$5 million/year for what amounts to a part-time job?

Not bad at all.

That's what former Miami judge Marilyn Milian makes a year for presiding over TV's long-running The People's Court, according to today's New York Post, which claims the show has racheted up the controversy ("harsher and more sexualized in recent years") since the Judge Wapner era.

The Post article delves into how a recent plaintiff has gone to real court to stop an episode from being aired after she was allegedly humilated by the judge. Claudia Evart says that "It was a nightmare, and I wish I never did it." The article also discusses missing person Michele Parker who disappeared shortly after her contentious appearance in the TV courtroom.

According to the article, the show pays the entire judgment for the loser in cases that originate in real small claims courts around the country as well as a nominal appearance fee to both litigants. This may be a change; some years back we saw a standard contract for the show that set forth a sliding scale of reimbursement based on the judgment amount. Since no money is apparently changing hands between the parties, it's interesting that the litigants still get very fired up when they plead their case on TV.

The long-running show is one of our guilty pleasures. The authors of the Post article aren't particularly enamored, however:
Milian, 50, is the fourth judge in the show’s history, and her immense popularity must be part of some visceral need Americans currently have to be hectored and lectured by well-coiffed middle-aged women (see: Nancy Grace, Judge Judy).
Milian, however, is a far more feminine, flirtatious presence. Although she also exhibits the Grace/Judge Judy brand of explosive, unpredictable female rage, her docket is far more sexed up, it’s cases like mini reality shows.
Our main issue with the show is that the judge sometimes doesn't allow the parties to get a word in edgewise (was that a timer next to her on the bench?). This may also be a function of having the litigants thoroughly pre-interviewed by producers. Yet, as we have written previously...
Okay, so she also showboats, grandstands, and yells at the litigants, and she sometimes even prevents the parties from introducing all of their evidence. Yet, the show is unusually informative for the viewer in that Judge Milian takes the time to explain how the principles of law apply to each case (as does the TMZ guy who does the wrap-around commentary in Times Square).
Another fun aspect of the show is when a plaintiff or defendant claims to have a key piece of evidence that will blow the case wide open, "but I don't have it with me."

Update: A court apparently turned down Evart's motion to prevent the episode from being broadcast. "Judge Lucy Billings of the New York State Supreme Court agreed with [People's Court lawyers] arguments, which were rooted in First Amendment law and also based on agreements that Evart had signed in connection with her appearance on the program." The segment aired on Friday, February 17, and we will post it as soon as it becomes available online.

1 comment:

  1. First I like Peoples court, I find it sticks more to the actual laws then personal ideals such as Judge Judy, I personal felt maybe I should sue Judge Judy the day she spent all of a second to take the word of three boys who admit they were drunk at the time they were accused of attempting to rape the defendant in her court, I felt this way because yes the girl was young and should not have hung out with three boys she did not know, but what Judge judy did not hear for her own mounth running was that the girl was at the pool swimming yes at night as some of us do in our apartment pools and one boy came up and then others. And the girl filed a police report that while yes she like the one boy, she asked them to stop pulling her on their laps and touching her, I was raped and I never went to the police for the reasons most women do. But for Judge judy (who is nothing more then a old women stuck in her ways, who has forgotten the laws she swore to uphold) to yell at the seventeen year old girl for making a complaint to the police , which the case was not closed I checked it was still under review, judy should have shut her mouth. For every young women who watced or hears about it and date rapes occur they will not come forward due to this show. So I would love to sue Judge Judy for pain and suffering as Date rape happens fair more then a stranger rape and I guess Judy is not up to date but that is the problem. As for peoples court I know she gets upset at times but she handles her show with recept to other courts and the minors which Grace doesnt do nor judy so please keep Judge Milian name seperated from those who no longer follow the law they were sworn to be hold.