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Checking in With Judge Judy

Aired March 16, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Judge Judy tell it like it is about the lousy economy, how it's driving desperate people to do desperate things. She talks tough on crime and banks and bailouts and your financial future. Judge Judy is in session, right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

And it's good to be back after a week's long sojourn into vacationville.

We want to thank those wonderful people who sat in for us last week.

Judge Judy is back tonight.

Always great to see you.

Let's get it out of the way quick. The front cover of "Palm Springs Life," there's a lovely picture of Judy. Look at that.

Does she look great?

And there the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center is having a big shindig April 27th and Judge Judy and I will be the keynote speakers. And that's what they are heralding here. So we took care of that right away.

Good to see you again, Judge Judy.


KING: Life is good.

All right, the polls -- so let's get right to it. The polls show the public worried about the economy. You had Warren Buffett on and we had him on. And he called it an economic Pearl Harbor.

When you look around, what's your take?

JUDGE JUDY: A lot of people are scared. A lot of people who had money don't have money anymore. A lot of people who didn't have a lot of money have a lot less. And I think everybody is fighting because, I think, for the first time -- at least in my memory -- people like Warren Buffett are saying that this is not a good thing.

However, I do believe that this is a great country. And I do believe that, what do they say, the fundamentals of America are strong. I don't think that that's what they said. They said the fundamentals of the economy are strong. But I think the fundamentals of America are strong.

I think it has -- this country has a wonderful spirit. And I think that, in the end, the spirit will take it through. It may take a couple of years. I wish I were younger so that I would have more years to enjoy it. But I think we'll be fine.

KING: Do you think the president is setting the right tone?

SHEINDLIN: I think the president is hitting a tone.

KING: He's on every day.

SHEINDLIN: He's on every day and he's talking about the economy. If I were counseling him, however, I would tell him as follows. I think it's wonderful to be able to say that there should not be the kind of disparity that there is in the wealth in this country. It breeds contempt when there is such a distance between those who have very little, even though they're trying hard and those who have so much, even though they're screwing other people. That makes for very bad blood.

So I think there is something to, say, in wanting to encourage those people at the low end of the spectrum, to give them a boost up. I think all of that is terrific. And I think the stimulus package that hopes to do that is a wonderful thing. And education and all the things that we really hold dear in this country.

If I were to take issue with the president, it would on from this subject. You came from humble beginnings.

KING: Very.

SHEINDLIN: I was a civil servant for most of my life, making a decent but civil service salary. And I worked very hard. And this country, says if you work hard and if you're lucky, you can realize the American dream, which is a great success story -- almost a fairy tale...

KING: You sure did.

SHEINDLIN: ...if all that comes together. So I worked hard as a public servant, made a public service salary. And then, all of a sudden, I had this wonderful opportunity which allowed me to enjoy some of the joys of life that I never envisioned that I could enjoy and some of the financial security that I really never thought I would have.


SHEINDLIN: I resent it when any part of the government refers to people who have money in the pejorative. When states and cities and our country say we're going to tax the rich -- and that word rich or wealthy doesn't sound like it comes from success of hard work, but from something negative -- I resent it. I don't mind paying more taxes. It's not going to impact on my lifestyle. And it wouldn't impact on your lifestyle. KING: What term would you use then, if you...

SHEINDLIN: No, I would say...

KING: ...agree with his increasing it, what should he say?

SHEINDLIN: I would say we respect those people who realized, through their hard work, the American dream. And what we're asking them for is a little more of a sacrifice, because the people at the low end can't give anymore.

And even though you've made it, you've achieved it and you did it through your own sweat -- whether it be a small business, whether it be as host of LARRY KING LIVE or whatever it is, we respect your hard work and your effort, but you need to pitch in a little bit more.

That would make me at least feel as if I was giving more, but it was appreciated.

KING: So don't -- don't seem like it's a slam at being rich.


KING: I got it. That's perception then.

SHEINDLIN: Well, it's perception. But the way it's -- it's the way it's presented. That's the way it's presented by everybody in the government.

KING: That you people (INAUDIBLE).

SHEINDLIN: You people.

KING: All right.

How about signs of trouble and increased crime?

By the way, does crime go up -- did crime go up in the '30s in the Depression?

SHEINDLIN: They say it did. You know, I don't trust statistics, really.

KING: What do you think?

SHEINDLIN: I don't know. I'd have to...

KING: Well, if people are without, don't they -- in other words, you want to -- someone once said, you want to wipe out crime, wipe out poverty?

SHEINDLIN: I think that that really says to the vast majority of people who don't have that we put you all in one great pot.

If 95 percent of the people that live in poverty don't commit crimes -- and that's true... KING: (INAUDIBLE).

SHEINDLIN: The vast majority of people who commit crimes come from poverty. But it's only a small percentage.

KING: So...

SHEINDLIN: And I -- there are certain people who, despite the fact they don't have a loaf of bread in their house, wouldn't think of going out and hitting somebody over their head and taking money. They just wouldn't do it.

I mean do you see people from -- who lost their jobs in the banking institutions, the financial institutions, Wall Street and the trickle down, do you see them burglarizing houses?

Honestly, I don't think that if you have -- if you don't have it in you, you're not going to do it. I'm not a great statistics person. I do -- I did find it interesting, one of the statistics that I saw in one of the papers a couple of days ago, that so many of the Wall Streeters who are used to, as part of the excesses of their money, using drugs are now going into rehab, so that the people in rehab are saying that their numbers have increased 25 percent, because there's no longer money for this...

KING: That's understandable.

SHEINDLIN: That I understand.

KING: OK. And we can assume that depression is up.

Wouldn't you assume that the...

SHEINDLIN: Oh, absolutely.

KING: ...anti-depressant drugs are selling better?

SHEINDLIN: Oh, absolutely. If -- they -- and alcohol. And alcohol, because alcohol masks depression.

KING: Judge Judy knows a lot about settling financial disputes. Her money advice for you.

And we're going to talk about Mr. Madoff after the break.


KING: More than any other individual, probably, the top named villain of the piece, when the history of this era is written, will be Bernie Madoff.

Yours truly took a hit, too. I had money invested, along with thousands of others, and took a blast.

What do you make of that whole story?

SHEINDLIN: I think he had an -- has -- or had -- the ego the size of Noah's ark and very little conscience.

KING: So sociopath?

SHEINDLIN: Yes. Very little conscience.

KING: Why do you think -- now he confessed to all this, right?

And he's told his family and then he told the brothers and they -- why didn't he flee, before -- do you think?

He could have gotten on a plane and gone to Brazil, where we don't have an extradition treaty.

SHEINDLIN: He could have.

And what about his children?

KING: Taken them.

SHEINDLIN: And his grandchildren?

KING: Well...

SHEINDLIN: He could have. Maybe.

KING: And so he gives a life in prison.

SHEINDLIN: And maybe he never thought it would happen.

KING: Once he confessed, though, he didn't think maybe -- not...

SHEINDLIN: Maybe he never thought it would happen. I don't know. I think that the book hasn't yet been written on Bernie Madoff.

KING: Do you -- do you understand all the people, the threats on -- I mean the anger of people is incred...

SHEINDLIN: Oh, I don't know...

KING: Elie Wiesel.

SHEINDLIN: I know people who were -- people in their 80s who had all of their money. And they weren't being pigs about their money. They didn't want a 30 percent return. Just a 10 percent. And they figured, well, they could live a comfortable life on $200,000 a year if they, you know, invested wisely. And he was the man to invest with.

And now they have nothing. And at that stage in life, to have to sell your home and perhaps move in with your children, if they can afford to take you in, I mean that's a terrible thing.

KING: And retirees and...


KING: Anyway, we've got a King Cam question relating to the Madoff case.

Let's watch and then we'll get Judge Judy's answer.

RANDY: Hi, Judge Judy.

My name is Randy.

And I just wondered what kind of sentence would you give Bernie Madoff if you were giving him a sentence?

SHEINDLIN: Well, Bernie Madoff is 70 years old. And I think if he's sentenced to 30 years in prison, that's an appropriate period of time. And if he lives to be 100 and he -- and he is eligible for parole and makes parole, so be it.

KING: Well, he automatically would get time off, so he wouldn't serve 30, right?


KING: If you sentence him?


KING: I think it's automatic in the federal system.

SHEINDLIN: You can get -- is he being -- is he in the federal system?

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: If he's in the federal system, you get a third off -- a third off your sentence. I'm not sure. I think it's a third off your sentence. Maybe 90. I mean he's going to get a lot more than that.

What difference does it make?

The man is -- he's finished. He's finished.

I was surprised he didn't kill himself, quite frankly, weren't you?

KING: Yes, I was.

What about why this wasn't prevented. You said you were a civil servant and you were a judge. They were looking to this in 1920 -- in 1992, in 2001. And the SEC let it go by.

SHEINDLIN: Well, it seems that a lot of people who worked at SEC -- at the SEC were ill-equipped to -- that's what I've heard, anyway. They were ill-equipped to decipher all of the complaints and the red flags and the letters that came across their desks. They knew how to look at a piece of paper and determine whether or not all of the Ts were crossed and Is dotted with regard to whether there was an appropriate filing. But following a sophisticated paper trail, despite the fact that some very expert people said follow this trail, it's impossible, that they were capable of doing.

He was also very smart. He courted the SEC. He dined with the SEC. He lunched with the SEC. They sought his advice. I mean it's really a fascinating story.

KING: How did he pull it off?

SHEINDLIN: I have no idea. I -- you know, I have no idea. I'm really not -- I don't have financial acumen. That's why I am a very conservative, for the most part, investor. I invest in municipal bonds that give you not a great return, but a constant return.

KING: What does a judge do faced with a Madoff?

Can a judge be dispassionate and say this is another white collar crime, I treat it like other white collar crimes?

SHEINDLIN: Well, you have to look at the -- at the harm that was inflicted on...

KING: The victims.

SHEINDLIN: ...on victims. And I think that the harm -- you know, people like Steven Spielberg...

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: ...or people like Larry King are going to recoup from what they lost. But there are other people that will never recoup, people that have lost their livelihoods, people that have lost their homes, people that have lost their pensions, people that have lost every dime that they had to their name. And those people will never recover.

Bernie Madoff can't recover from this. He and all of those who the government will, in fact, indict -- and there will be -- I think that there will be more indictments. Those people shouldn't be in the position to ever recover and recoup. You know, we've had some bad people who were put in federal prison and they came out and they recovered and recouped their name (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Hey, are you suffering from AIG outrage?

You're not alone.

More King Cam is next.

See you in 60 seconds.


KING: We took King Cam to the streets to see what all of you are talking about. Most people wanted Judy to answer one thing in particular.

Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBBIE CANADA: Hello, Judge Judy.

This is Debbie Canada (ph) from Texas.

And I was just wondering what you think about the AIG bailout and giving over $160 million in bonuses?

KING: All right.


SHEINDLIN: We now own, you and I, 80 percent of AIG.

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: And the excuse given for paying out these bonuses were that they were contracts and you can't void those contracts without consequences. And I think it's sort of interesting that you can't void contracts because these people were engaged in actions that were irresponsible, reckless and caused substantial damage -- I mean to the taxpayers.

How can they void the contracts of police officers and firemen and other civil servants who they're forcing to take furlough days despite the fact they have contracts?

They're forcing them to take furlough days to make up budgets.

How can you say that, in one respect -- who people have done nothing wrong, civil servants and who are being told you are going to get by on less -- $200 less a month because we're in financial straits, even though your contract prohibits it...

KING: And yet you're giving yourself...

SHEINDLIN: And you can't -- and you can't do that with a company that has been reckless in its dealings with finance and reckless with the money that you've already given them.

I mean I don't think that that's the last of it, that $165 million. There's a pool for that that's even greater, if my memory is correct from my reading, something like $400 million that they have -- that they have the ability to tap into.

KING: Are we going to get it back?

SHEINDLIN: I don't think you'll ever see it back. I think that these people know that money is never coming back. And maybe -- and maybe those people that say -- and I'm, as I said, I don't know a lot about finance. But it seems to me if a company isn't working, there comes a point where you have to say that's what Chapter 11 is for.

KING: How can you get a failure...

SHEINDLIN: Reorganize -- reorganize in Chapter 11 and take those contracts...

KING: These are failure bonuses.


KING: Judge Judy is not holding back. She never does.

She never does, does she?

See who she takes on next, when we come back.


KING: We're back with Judge Judy.

We're talking, in the main -- we'll talk about some other things later -- but in the main, money.

Your parents were shaped by the Great Depression, right?

SHEINDLIN: Um-hmm. Correct.

KING: How did they handle money?

And how did their handling of it affect the way you handle it?

SHEINDLIN: My parents were generous. My mother always said it's nice to give with a warm hand.

KING: I like that.

SHEINDLIN: So I think that that shapes the way I deal with my children and money.

KING: Me, too. You've got to give.

What do you get out of hoarding it?

SHEINDLIN: Yes. I -- it's much nicer to see it than to hope that you're watching it from upstairs.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) what you get.

As Woody Allen once said, see this watch?

On his deathbed, my grandfather sold me this watch.


KING: A lot of people are -- a lot of dispute on your show are about money, aren't they?

SHEINDLIN: Yes, well, people -- the minutiae...

KING: (INAUDIBLE). He gave me $300...

SHEINDLIN: Three hundred dollars...

KING: He took $200, I didn't pay the cleaning bill...

SHEINDLIN: Well, you know, well, a lot of it is about money. But a lot of it is about emotion and money. I mean if it was just about money, it wouldn't be on 13 years.

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: It's about emotion and money. And people become invested in the emotion and will use the money as an excuse.

KING: Good point.

We'll take a call, Westchester, New York, for Judge Judy.



My question -- I have a question for Judge Judy.

With the recent news of the Madoff and AIG's reckless financial judgment and abuse, what legislative policies would you suggest to propose?

SHEINDLIN: Oh, my goodness...

KING: You mean to remedy it.

SHEINDLIN: I wish I were -- I wish I were really smart so that I could answer that question in the -- in the financial area. I'm not smart enough. But I certainly think that the SEC has to equip itself -- if they are the oversight agency, they have to equip themselves with and get people who are smart enough to be able to see what's going on. That was the problem, because in 1994, this guy -- I don't remember his name. Names often escape me. But he started to write to them. And he said this is absolutely impossible. They may be competitors...

KING: Yes, I know who they are. Yes.

SHEINDLIN: But I'm telling you I ran the numbers, it's absolutely impossible, he wrote, over and over and over again. And these people did not know how to conduct an investigation.

KING: And the...

SHEINDLIN: So I think you need smarter people to...

KING: To his credit...


KING: ...Senator McCain properly criticized them during the campaign. SHEINDLIN: Yes.

KING: Before any of the Madoff thing came out.

Do you think possibly something like this might, in the long run, have benefits in that we start thinking more about what we do with our money and savings and...

SHEINDLIN: We used to be a country of savers, Larry. I remember when I was in school, every Friday you brought in your bankbook and the teacher collected either $1 or $2 or $3 and you'd put it in the bankbook and they stamped it. I don't know if they did that when you went to school.

KING: Sure. Sure.

SHEINDLIN: But they stamped it and you had that book. And it was so wonderful to be able to, at the end of a year, look and see what you had accumulated during that year.

That's gone. Part of the reason it's gone is because it's so expensive to live. People -- you know, the old formula of so much for rent, so much for food, so much for saving is really gone, because people understand that if they have a child, it's going to cost $100,000 or more to educate that child -- to give that child a college education, if you're going to pay for it yourself.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: At least.

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: Well, you have to start paying for that. If you're earning $50,000 a year, what is the likelihood that with rent and gas and insurance on your car and everything else -- and maybe a vacation once a year, maybe an inexpensive vacation, you're going to be able to save that much money over a lifetime to pay for your children's education and your retirement?

So I think that maybe we'll get back to more basics. Maybe people will understand that they have to have something in the bank because in hard times, you never know when they're going to turn around. Never.

And I also think that while banks and financial institutions have to bear a great deal of the blame for where we are, I don't pass over the individual and individual responsibility. If you're earning $50,000 a year, you have no business buying a million dollar house. That may be a dream, that may be wonderful. But I know...

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: ...that when my husband and I were looking for an apartment -- and we want to live in Manhattan, because I was working close to the courts in Manhattan. And I would have loved a two bedroom apartment. We bought a studio with a Murphy bed. And that's where we lived for three years in an apartment, you know, after the kids were in school. That's all we could afford.

I didn't go looking for a two bedroom apartment for $700,000 or $800,000. We could afford $125,000. That's what we bought.

KING: Do people still have passbook savings?

I have for my two kids.

SHEINDLIN: I don't think so. I don't think they give them to you anymore.

KING: Yes, they do. Banks give them.


KING: They go in with their little bank books.

SHEINDLIN: Well, that's nice for children.

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: But I haven't seen them in a long time.

KING: Is there still a Christmas Club?

Remember, you put away for Christmas?

SHEINDLIN: Yes. I don't know.

KING: Do they still have it?

SHEINDLIN: I haven't heard people talk about that in such a long time. And maybe getting...

KING: Well, I remember Christmas Clubs.

SHEINDLIN: Yes. Getting back to basics. I don't think that we're going to see that again. I think that the world has become much too complicated.

KING: Well, we now have plastic.

SHEINDLIN: Now -- and you have .30 interest that you're going to get on your money.


KING: Hey, you want to know what Judge Judy thinks about the Chris Brown/Rihanna case?

So do we and we'll ask about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: All right. Chris Brown and Rihanna. It's talked about all over the world. He's 19, she's 21. He's now facing two felony accounts -- assaulting and making criminal threats -- for the alleged beating. She apparently has reconciled.

This is the shocking part. The Boston Public Health Commission did a survey of Boston youth about this story. Half thought Rihanna was responsible for what happened to her. Half.

Did that shock you?

SHEINDLIN: Does it shock me?


KING: It shocked me.

SHEINDLIN: First of all, this is not domestic violence.

KING: Not domestic -- what is it?

SHEINDLIN: No. It's violence. It's assault.

KING: Not domestic because they're not married.

SHEINDLIN: These two people don't live together. They're not married. They don't have a child in common. They're not related by blood. They live independently. And what it is, if it's anything, is an assault.

Now there are defenses to assault. Self-defense is a defense to assault, but you cannot come back and create more damage than it would take just to extricate yourself from the situation.

So as a gal who lived in the family court for many decades, I take domestic violence very seriously because...

KING: This would be a family court case or not a family...

SHEINDLIN: This would not be a family career case.

KING: This is a criminal case and it's all...

SHEINDLIN: This is a criminal case. If these people lived where I practice in New York, she could not go to the family court seeking a protective order. She would have to seek a protective order from him in the criminal justice system.

Does it surprise me that 52 percent of young kids who were questioned said that she probably would go to him. Doesn't surprise me. It's sad, but I think young girls today -- and we've had this discussion years ago -- the violence that young girls perpetrate today, that we've seen on Youtube -- remember those girls fighting and putting it on Youtube? Remember the assault that we saw year ago that you and I talked about? That's something that would never happen. We never ascribe that kind of behavior to women. I think women also know -- and I'm giving the guys all of the benefit of the doubt -- while not excusing this as a kind of assault -- women know that women have the capacity not of brawn, but they have the capacity in needling a guy to get him to react. I don't know if that's what happened here. Certainly the reaction did not equate to her action, because I haven't seen pictures of him bloodied and battered and bruised.

Make no mistake, this is not a domestic violence situation in the view of an old family court judge. This is just violence. And when one -- when a person like this guy can take his hand and cause that kind of damage, he will do it again, perhaps not to her, but to somebody else, somebody --

KING: You're with Oprah then, who said he'll do it again.

SHEINDLIN: I don't think that if you as a human being -- we talked about this before -- when you said, is the economy going to bring out more criminal behavior? And I said to you, if you don't have the capacity in here to take your fist and touch another person in the face, irrespective of what they've done to you -- they've insulted you. They've cut you off. They cut your car off. If you don't have the capacity do that, then you won't do it.

KING: All right.

SHEINDLIN: If you've done it once, you'll do it again. If you can get your blood boiling to the extent that you can't stop --

KING: Should the courts listen to her? Suppose they're back together and she goes to court and said, I forgive him. Judge, forgive him.

SHEINDLIN: No, that could be considered in the victim's impact statement. She's no longer the person bringing this action.

KING: The state is.

SHEINDLIN: The district attorney of the county is bringing this action. And you know sometimes you can even proceed with a case like this without a victim. You know, you have police officers testify as to what they observed, statements made by the defendant.

KING: Police officers will be the key witness.

SHEINDLIN: You don't necessarily have to have a body to prove a death.


SHEINDLIN: So you don't necessarily need her testimony. And if convicted, she could certainly testify at his sentencing and say this was reconciled, give him a break. My conduct may have had something to do with the way he reacted, whatever it is. The judge takes that into consideration of sentencing. KING: First time offense, which this is, assuming -- I hate to do this -- conviction of a kind, would you be tough on this 19-year- old?

SHEINDLIN: I would certainly see to it that his -- whatever sentence he got him -- that may be a 30-day plus five years probation. But I would certainly see to it that anger management classes were part of that, real ones, with real reporting, not fake ones, real ones with real reporting to the court. And if he doesn't attend, and if he gets into trouble again, the fact that he is making somebody tens of millions of dollars can't impact on whether or not he goes back to jail. In this town, unfortunately, that happens a lot.

KING: Our guest is Judge Judy, on the mark and always interesting, and never dull. Go to with your questions for Judge Judy. Click on blog and ask away. More to come, stick around.


SHEINDLIN: There's certain parts of him that work. The wrist doesn't work. I'm sure he's thrilled to be here.

It's over. Move on with it. I deferred to you, because you're supposed to be the expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the expert.

SHEINDLIN: That's why -- I don't know that. You look OK to me, but you don't look like Mr. Atlas.


KING: It's a fun show to watch. And a lot of good points are made, by the way. It's 13 years on the air. OK, Michael Phelps, the pot smoking, the photo. There are many, many, many people who think we are at the point now we ought to legalize this. What do you think?

SHEINDLIN: About legalizing marijuana?

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: I don't like to dumb down America. That's what I think.

KING: Liquor is legal.

SHEINDLIN: Yes, it is. And more deaths can be ascribed to teenagers driving while drunk than I like to think is -- is reasonable. I don't think that just because you can't control it, you have to legalize it.

And I think that people have to make the distinction with a good swimmer and someone who's a hero. Michael Phelps is a good swimmer. That's what he does. He's a young kid. And I'm certain that were it not for today's technology, you wouldn't have seen that photograph. But you do have -- if you are gifted with the celebrity -- you talked about this before. When you're gifted with the celebrity, you have the responsibility not to do stupid things.

KING: What about -- what happened to privacy? Walk down the street now, people take your picture. Walking down the street.


KING: What happened to privacy?

SHEINDLIN: What happened to it? Electronics. Electronics. They put cameras on the street. They take your picture of the car going through that? That's what happens to privacy. And the Internet -- the Internet -- people don't want to be private anymore.

KING: They don't want --

SHEINDLIN: They put out everything. They put out pictures of themselves. They talk to strangers on the Internet.

KING: Websites where they put their own picture out. What's that?

SHEINDLIN: I have no idea. I've never turned on a computer in my life. If I want to call somebody, I pick up a phone.

KING: What happened to phones? Regular phones?

SHEINDLIN: I still have a regular phone on a land line.

KING: A land line?

SHEINDLIN: Something that's attached to the wall. It gives me a certain amount of security.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: Cute story. I was doing a case in court, and a young man stole somebody's cell phone and downloaded music, and downloaded music. So after I did the case -- he sort of acknowledged that he stole the phone and he downloaded music. I said, what else did you do? He said, I bought wallpaper. I said for what room. You see, you didn't laugh? You know what wallpaper is on a cell phone?

KING: On a cell phone, no.

SHEINDLIN: Neither did I. So I said what room did you buy wallpaper for. Everybody in the audience got hysterical.

KING: What is it?

SHEINDLIN: It's a picture that you can change on your cell phone.

KING: Oh, I didn't know.

SHEINDLIN: You know? We're Neanderthals here, kid.

KING: I have a cell phone. I send faxes.

SHEINDLIN: Well, a cell phone doesn't send faxes. a cell phone sends e-mail. I can send a fax, as long as it tells you whether to put it in face up or face down.

KING: Face up?


KING: I don't put it down. I understand the advance of technology. But certain things.

SHEINDLIN: That's what happened to privacy. People encourage -- actually, by going on the Internet and exploring with perfect strangers your inner most thoughts and feelings, you're encouraging this lack of privacy. People are doing it to themselves, really. And it's -- I'm sure that in your house, you get these cold calls. Do you get these cold calls? Irritating. You know? You sign up, no cold calls, put your name on the list. Don't call me. At 3:00 in the morning, somebody's calling to find out if Mr. Robinson lives in my house. I said, not today. Yesterday, he lived here. Not today.

KING: So this is something -- talking about is moot -- you're not going to do anything about it?


KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: I don't think so.

KING: It's gone?

SHEINDLIN: I think so. Listen, privacy goes with transparency. If you want things to be transparent, privacy is gone.

KING: Do you think people in the administration can be transparent? Promises to be.

SHEINDLIN: It hopes to be. I think Mr. Obama -- and I don't know. I voted for him. So -- which we have discussed. I think he's very well intentioned. I think that he's hitting some walls in Washington that he didn't anticipate. And he has a lot of good will behind him. So I'm hoping he does what he thinks he can do. But I think there are still a lot of people there invested in the old ways. I think it's going to be -- until all those people die off, I think it's going to be a hard road.

KING: Arianna Huffington, Ben Stein, and Donald Trump tomorrow night with more on the economy. Your blog comments are next. See you back here with Judge Judy in 60 seconds.


KING: It's time now for our blog. Here's David Theall. David, what are the people saying tonight?

DAVID THEALL, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Larry, this AIG story has people very angry on our blog and blogs across the Internet. People are really angry at these bonuses being paid out to certain AIG employees after they had to have that bailout.

Just tonight happening on our blog, we're hearing things like "ridiculous, greed, selflessness are alive. There would be no bonuses if they had gone under."

And then somebody said this about Judge Judy. They said, Judge Judy, they would like you to take the case of the American taxpayer versus AIG. We were kind of laughing here because we'd like to see that as well.

On Bernie Madoff, which you were talking about earlier, somebody had a good point on the blog. They said, he should be treated like drug dealers, whereby we seize all properties. We do have a question tonight for Judge Judy. This is a conversation, by the way, that's happening at; look for that blog link, click it, jump in on the conversation.

Judge Judy, we heard from Brandon, who asked this question of you: should the donor -- we're talking about the Octomom -- should the donor father of Nadya Suleman, aka the Octomom -- should the donor father of those children be forced to help pay for their upbringing?

KING: OK, Judy?

SHEINDLIN: Oh, I have lots of thoughts on this, Larry. First, we don't know the circumstances on which she became pregnant. We know the circumstances which she says she became pregnant. I don't know whether she said she used one sperm donor or several. I don't know the answer to that question.

But certainly her actions were so reckless and irresponsible that the taxpayer is going to have to pay probably between eight million and 10 million dollars in their money to get these children out of the hospital and through their first year of life. And they're probably a lot more after that.

But I think that two things. I think that any money this lady receives by virtue of television, radio, print, anything that feeds money in to her, from whatever source, has to be attached by the government who was supporting her. In that way, she's really no different from AIG, only in a little -- in a little microcosm. Her actions were reckless, irresponsible, and she's using taxpayer money.

She has no medical insurance that's paying for these children. So we are paying for their medical care. Now, if she's being paid 500,000 dollars, a million dollars -- she'll be paid over the course of the lifetime of these children lots of dough. It's no different from people who are receiving some sort of assistance and win the Lottery. The first thing that the government does is go in and take that money. That's one thing. And number two, and more importantly, these children, 14 children, have to have some oversight. This is a woman who is mentally fragile. I don't think that there's any question about that. This is coming from an old family court judge, not a psychiatrist.

KING: Let me hold you right there. We'll pick up with more. Obviously you're very emotional on this.


KING: Obvious.


KING: Don't move. We'll be right back. Don't go away.



KING: Back with Judge Judy and back to Octomom.

SHEINDLIN: OK. Everybody is sympathetic with the 14 children that this loony tune brought into the world, and really can't take care of. She can't take care of them herself. You -- and I said this to you as an old family court gal. You cannot, as a single person, take care of 14 children, at least three of whom -- who you know are challenged. Probably a lot more.

She receives aid for three of the children she has, because they have disabilities. I mean, you don't even have to -- it's not even a stretch to know that if you have six children as a single parent, and three of them have disabilities, the last thing you need is another one, even one. So that's the kind of irresponsible and fragile mental behavior that you have to be careful of as a government.

You have these children. They are lives and being. They are here. As long as this woman is accepting government funding, and she has to, because that's what's paying for the medical care of her children, not when she gets them home. This Angels or whatever is supposed to be doing that. I don't know about that. Seems to me the county, division of Children's Family Services, whatever they call them in the county where she lives, has to have somebody there on site, because this same fragile lady one day will wake up and say, you know, I can't take care of these children and I'm a very religious person, which is why I chose to have eight instead of just one or two. Maybe they should be with god. I don't know.

But I'm telling you, you cannot as a single parent -- and you know that -- you have two boys. Sometimes, you know, you have it with the fighting and the screaming. You have two boys that, thank god, are mentally healthy. She has fragile children. You cannot take care of them as a single person. Somebody has to watch it. Not somebody who is answerable to a foundation. Somebody that's responsible from the state has to watch that. KING: Well said. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Judge Judy, always welcome at LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



SHEINDLIN: I just want you to be aware of that, that you don't want me to embarrass your sister.


SHEINDLIN: You don't want me to embarrass your sister. Your sister doesn't want to be embarrassed either. Because if she thinks that she's smarter, she isn't. Do you understand?


KING: OK. Prop 8, it bans marriage of two -- same gender. The high court of the state of California heard the appeal of the vote of the people. What do you think?

SHEINDLIN: We've got a lot of trouble in this country. We've got a lot of trouble in the world. Why the state should be interested in proscribing the word marriage from two people who love each other, who are responsible, tax-paying, productive people, who have created a family, sometimes two people, sometimes two people and children -- why the state would have an interest in proscribing that kind of conduct, I don't understand.

I understand the anger about poverty. I understand the anger about AIG. I understand the problem about the banks. I understand the problem about Afghanistan and the Taliban and everything else. But I don't understand the preoccupation with gays being permitted to marry.

KING: I guess because people really feel -- religious people really feel --

SHEINDLIN: Religious people can feel whatever they want to feel. You know, Larry, it wasn't so many decades ago that people of different races couldn't marry in many states in this country. And President Obama is going to have an opportunity relatively soon to put his imprimatur on whether or not gay couples who work for the federal government, I believe, are going to be entitled to insurance, health insurance. He should be particularly sensitive to that, because there was a time that members of his race couldn't marry members of another race. And you wouldn't tolerate that today.

KING: But he can tell --

SHEINDLIN: Nobody would tolerate that today, right?

KING: Right. But he can't tell a state what to do.

SHEINDLIN: Half the marriages in California, if you tolerated that kind of behavior, would be void. So the world is changing. And we have to change along with it.

KING: The last time it happened, I think, it was defeated by 20 percent. Now it was only, like, seven percent.

SHEINDLIN: And I think that if the language of the -- of the piece of paper that people read were different, if the language said you are voting in favor of giving gays the right to marry, and if answer this yes, I think the vote would have been different, because it was that small a margin. And I know people didn't -- there were a lot of people that didn't get it. There were a lot of young voter. There were a lot of young voters who were voting for the first time. They were voting Democrat for the most part.

KING: You think they'd vote yes, yes, they can marry?

SHEINDLIN: Absolutely right. Absolutely right.

KING: Because of the way it was worded?

SHEINDLIN: Because of the way it was worded. If they did a do- over -- if anything else, give me the benefit of a doubt. Give me a do-over and try it.

KING: Do you think we'll see it some day in more than two states or three states?

SHEINDLIN: I think that you will. I think that the old guard has to die off, because I don't think that young people today really see this as a problem. I think that they go to school with people who are gay. They see gays in the community who are having children, who are marching in -- you know, in the Halloween Day Parade with their kids. They work next to them in wonderful jobs. And they don't see a problem with it. It's the old guard that sees a problem.

KING: Judge Judy, you are always a delight.

SHEINDLIN: Thank you, sir.

KING: How many years are you signed for after 13?

SHEINDLIN: Until 2013. So I've got another four years to go.

KING: You'll never make it. I told you. You'll never make it. Have you got something to say about this show or any other? Go to Check out our blog. Let us know what you think. Tomorrow, Donald Trump, Arianna Huffington and Ben Stein are here. Before we go, the vice president's mother, Jean, was hospitalized this weekend after a fall. The last time I talked to Joe Biden, he told me his mom watches this show every night. So here's to you, Jean. Take care and best wishes for a quick recovery.

Time now for the Staples Center, Anderson Cooper, "AC 360" on the road right here. Anderson?