- Judge Mathis
Judge Mathis Format Court Starring Greg Mathis Country of origin United States Production Location(s) NBC Tower
Running time 60 minutes Broadcast Original channel Syndicated Original run 1999– present External links Website
Judge Mathis is a syndicated television legal reality show produced originally by Black Pearl Productions. In 2008, it entered its tenth season produced by AND Syndicated Productions and Telepictures. It is taped at NBC Tower in Chicago, but includes cases and litigants from other U.S. jurisdictions. The show is broadcast five days a week in every U.S. state and in Canada through Omni Television. The show has been on the air since 1999, and has taped over 2000 episodes. On November 5, 2009, Warner Bros. Television announced that Judge Mathis has been renewed through the 2011-2012 season. "
In the series, retired District Court judge of Michigan's 36th District Court, Greg Mathis, presides over disputes between plaintiffs and defendants. The cases are classified as tort law, civil disputes with a maximum $5,000 claim, a typical amount for small claims court cases. There are typically four cases presented in each hour-long episode. The show solicits litigants with real cases before the court, and each litigant must enter into a legally binding agreement to be held under the judgment. The producers of the show select cases, and it appears that Mathis does not have prior knowledge of the case besides reading typical material fact claims filed with a small claims court. Thus, like the typical small claims court, the plaintiff has the burden of proof and must argue his/her case before the Judge and answer any questions directed to him/her. Like most small claims court procedure, the parties before him cannot cross examine each other and must speak only to the bench. Typically, Mathis asks for documents that verify a claim, and upon final judgment he may briefly explain the legal principle guiding his decision, especially if his ruling is based on a particular state's law. The rulings conform to the laws of the state where the case was originally filed.
Before every case each litigant is assigned a case manager who helps make the case more interesting to television audiences. They are also instructed to add extra details to "beef up" their case for added entertainment purposes.
Like many TV judge shows, only the bailiff, besides the judge, is a recurring character. The first bailiff on the series, Brendan Anthony Moran, died on December 19, 2002, after he fell to his death from the balcony of his 24th floor Chicago condo. His death was ruled a suicide, but his family feels it may have been an accident. Since then, Judge Mathis has had two bailiffs. The current bailiff is Doyle Devereux. Bailiff Doyle often acts as a comic relief for the show, interjecting lighthearted observations about the litigants or their cases. Among the recurring humorous motifs, both Doyle and Mathis frequently insinuate that Doyle enjoys smoking marijuana and has an eye for pretty women. The bailiff also oversees the parties after the judgment in the studio court room hallway, where litigants respond on camera to Judge Mathis' ruling. In the first season of the show, a female court reporter would apppear at the end of each case to interview the litigants after their judgement. The court reporter was ultimately dropped from season 2 onward.
Judge Mathis tolerates informal digressions and is somewhat laid-back while on the bench (extremely different from a judge on a similar court show, Judge Judy; in fact, some petitioners blurt out statements in the heat of the moment that contradict their own sworn testimony or otherwise undermine their cases while Judge Mathis listens with amusement and laughter. Judge Mathis also often entertains longwinded, mean-spirited personal asides by one litigant about the other (even when such testimony bears no relevance to the case), but then allows the defamed party equal time to respond in kind. Often, Judge Mathis will crack jokes about the whole argument and is usually seen making his audience laugh. He also ridicules the litigants; particularly, white or hispanic. In the course of adjudicating, litigants often yell at each other, sometimes for extended periods of time; however, Judge Mathis will not tolerate disrespect and will dismiss cases if litigants demean or use profane language directed towards himself or the party before him.
Aspiring singers and rappers who appear on the show may even be granted a moment to showcase their talents from the lectern. Due to the popularity of the show and its long run on television, parties before the judge often profess personal fondness for Mathis, who tolerates the kind words gracefully, but will not let them affect his decisions. In recent years, the show has begun to conduct paternity testing in disputes about child custody, and drug testing in applicable cases. Mathis often offers or compels drug treatment and family counseling for parties.
In other media, the "Judge Mathis" show also appeared in an episode of The Steve Harvey Show. Romeo, Bullethead, and Lydia sued Steve and Regina over a damaged computer that Steve confiscated from them during class. Since Judge Mathis had appeared at the school earlier in the week, the kids took their case to the Judge Mathis show (and won).
- ^ a b Judge Mathis website. Online at: "About the Show". Accessed 8 May 2007
- ^ Judge Mathis website. Online at: "When its on". Accessed 5 March 2011
- ^ Omni Television. Ontario "Judge Mathis" Accessed 8 May 2007
- ^ Judge Mathis interview. Online at: "Interview with the Judge Mathis". Accessed 5 March 2011
- ^ Personal testimony from former litigants. Online at: "judgemathis.vacau.com". Accessed 5 March 2011
- ^ Google Answers response from Googlenut. "RE: cause of death of Brendon Moran", Accessed 3 September 2009
- 1999 American television series debuts
- 1990s American television series
- 2000s American television series
- 2010s American television series
- Judicial shows
- First-run syndicated television programs in the United States
- Television series by Warner Bros. Television
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