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The Judge Judy Home Page

Judge Judith Sheindlin
Petri Hawkins-Byrd
Q & A with Judge Judy
Send your case to the Judge

A short interview with Judge Judy
Presiding Judge on "Judge Judy"

As an experienced former family court judge, how does Judge Judy feel about the juvenile court system?
"Kids may be used to getting over on the system, but they do not get over on me."

And juvenile plea-bargaining?
"Lawyers are always asking me if I will cut some slack for their clients. My standard answer is: This is not 'Let's Make a Deal,' and I'm not Monty Hall."

What is her opinion about first-time offenders?
"I want first-time offenders to think of their first appearance in my courtroom as the second-worst experience of their lives. Circumcision being the first."

And if they are incarcerated?
"My personal belief is that we have to get kids' attention, and fast ... There are many ways to get kids' attention. A period of detention in a chilly upstate facility can be a great attitude adjuster."

How does Judge Judy feel about child custody cases?
"It always amazes me that the same parents who would tear the heart out of a stranger trying to harm their kids would embark on divorce campaigns that destroy these same children . . . typically insisting they are doing this in the kids' 'best interests.'"

Why is control of the courtroom so important?
"As a judge, the one thing you cannot do is lose control of your courtroom. As soon as you lose control of your courtroom, the case is over."

How does Judge Judy handle success and her public image?
"I've been careful to maintain my image. People still say, 'Hey, she's a real judge!' I haven't allowed Hollywood to make me into a caricature."

Where did Judge Judy learn the difference between right and wrong?
"My father had confidence in me. He taught me, 'If it feels right and you have a reasonable moral compass, it probably is right.'"

How does Judge Judy deal with the difficulties of being on the bench--whether "in the system" or on-camera?
"I'm often asked, how can you stay in your job for so many years with its daily human misery? The answer is that the occasional success stories make it worthwhile and rejuvenate me."

What do you hope viewers take away from Judge Judy?
"I hope they discover that a great many trials can be resolved quickly and efficiently with the result being just and fair."

Why do you think children today are having a more difficult time distinguishing between right and wrong?
"Often, the children don't have strong role models. In some cases, even the parents have not set a good example for their children to follow. Unfortunately, many parents have abdicated parenting in favor of being a buddy to their kids."

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