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Tiger Woods Breaks His Silence; Judge Judy Sounds Off!

Aired February 17, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, breaking Tiger Woods news -- he'll apologize publicly for the first time since the sex scandal that shocked the world.

Is it too little too late?

Judge Judy is also here to tell us what she thinks about that and the other outrageous stories everybody is talking about.

Is anyone too fat to fly?

Or are Americans getting the politicians we deserve?

What about Sarah Palin?

What about President Obama?

Who's right, who's wrong, who should just go away?



JUDGE JUDITH SHEINDLIN, HOST, "JUDGE JUDY": Don't be a wise guy, sir, because I'll wipe up the floor with you.

Do we understand each other?


KING: It's all next on LARRY


Good evening.

Tiger Woods is ready to talk, but on his own terms. His agent says the golfing great will speak before friends, colleagues and close associates on Friday at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Florida. He plans to discuss his past and his future and to apologize for his behavior. Pool media coverage will be allowed. Questions won't be.

Joining us, Brandel Chamblee, analyst for the Golf Channel, former player on the PGA Tour. David Cornwell, a top sports attorney, president of DNK Cornwell. By the way, he's known as "the cleaner," making legal problems of high profile athletes go away.

And our old buddy Steven A. Smith, who hosts his own Fox Sports radio host show. That's coast to coast; a columnist, as well, with "The Philadelphia Inquirer."

All right, Brandel, what do you make about the way he's going to do this Friday?

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE, FORMER PRO GOLFER: Well, it's Tiger Woods to a tee. He's controlling the who, the what, the when the where and the how to the extent that he's not going to allow questions. I mean going all the way back to 1996, he had a statement where he said, hello world. From that moment on, its been all with his golf clubs.

For the first time, I think what he does Friday is going to have a huge impact, not so much what he says, but how he says it.

KING: David, why have a bunch of people around if he's the only one going to talk and no questions allowed?

DAVID CORNWELL, ATTORNEY, REPRESENTS PRO ATHLETES: I'm not sure, frankly. Being present and reading a statement without media present to ask questions isn't a whole lot different than issuing a statement on his Web site. But perhaps he can pull it off.

The reason that he's in this position is that we learned -- or the public learned that Tiger Woods was not who we thought he was. So if he issues a statement and demonstrates authenticity, remorse, as it -- as odd as it may seem, the public probably expects an apology as sincere as the one he gave his wife. And then he just needs to go with it and acknowledge that he's human, imperfect and not try to create -- re-create the bionic golfer. Acknowledge his -- his imperfections and move on.

And if that comes out in what he says or how he says it, then perhaps this will put the story behind us.

KING: Steven, are you surprised at the way he's doing this?

STEVEN A. SMITH, COLUMNIST, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": Absolutely. I'm shocked at his stupidity, to be quite honest, because it's absolutely idiotic the way he's going about doing this, to not take any questions from the media, to have -- to wrap himself by colleagues and friends. Basically he's sheltering and shielding himself from the venom and the vitriol and some of the interrogation or the interrogation tactics that were inevitable and, more importantly, that any other athlete would have to go through in this day and time.

Clearly, Tiger Woods has revealed himself as a person who believes he's above reproach and he's not somebody that needs to be questioned. This is one of the things that shocked America, because he had projected himself as being somebody that he wasn't. So now that you have the opportunity to make amends -- you dropped the ball initially, because your P.R. campaign was absolutely disastrous. I don't know if it was because of him, his repusanta -- his representation or whatever the case may be, but it was absolutely disastrous. Everybody knows that.

Now you have another chance to make amends. But before you do that, you're going to let the world know that you're not going to subject yourself to the media, you're not going to subject yourself to any kind of inquisition whatsoever. And on top of it all, you're surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones.

So certainly the things that most other athletes, high profile individuals have to go through, oh, no, you're different because you're Tiger?

America is going to look at him and say, we're the land of second chances, but we're not Boo-Boo the fool. You've got a lot of nerve coming at us with this nonsense. And that's what I predict will happen.

KING: Randall, do you think he's going to tell us anything about the future of golfing events he might enter?

CHAMBLEE: I think he will. I -- I think he will apologize to the fans, to his sponsors, to members of the media, to his family. I think he'll tell us as sincerely as he can, as contritely as he can, about his infidelities and how he plans to deal with them.

And then I think that he will address his 2010 plans as it relates to golf.

But I do agree most heartedly with everybody on this show thus far, is that there has been celebrities deal successfully with scandal. And you don't have to go back that far to Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, former President Bill Clinton, just to name a few, who stayed ahead of this, who stayed ahead of the scandal, who spoke with the American people and stayed in front of it.

Conversely, you can look at celebrities who did not handle scandal very well, players like Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Maguire, Spitzer, just to name a few, who lied, who did not deal honestly with the public, who looked insincere. And I think that is what he's trying to do. That is his main goal on Friday...


CHAMBLEE: -- really, is just to put a face on the words that we read on the e-mail, which rang hollow to a lot of people.

KING: David, what would...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't go...

KING: David, what would you advise him to have done?

How would you have handled them?

CORNWELL: Well, you -- you know, the dye was cast with the -- with the statements on the Web site. And many think that the harsh media coverage that he has endured is the product of media payback for him being inaccessible. Now, obviously, Tiger has been so consistent with his media strategy, while he may wish his relationship with the media was better, he probably doesn't care very much.

But I wouldn't go back as far as Brandel has noted. I -- I would refer to Andy Ped -- Pettitte and A-Rod, who walked out in front of a phalanx of reporters and issued statements and answered questions and then contrast that against Roger Clemens, who couldn't figure it out.

Tiger has followed a strategy consistency -- consistently. So it's pretty -- pretty consistent and not just a phase that he's going through.

But I do not think this is going to solve the problem or make the story go away because the media is going to continue to chase the story and they're going to continue to be critical of him.

KING: Steven, if he plays again shortly and wins again, can he put it all away?

SMITH: He can't put it all away. He can make amends from the standpoint he could go out on the golf course and there's a lot of people that's going to be incredibly ecstatic that he's back on the golf course, because we all know that he's the best player in the world. So you want to see him win at the game of golf. You want to see him be successful. You want to see him bring that elevated profile to the game of golf. And everybody is going to appreciate that.

But at the end of the day, this will always tag along with him. And how he has handled this will definitely tag along with him and his character.

I want to point out something that Charles Barkley pointed out that's extremely important here. Charles Barkley came on the air shortly after the incident took place. And he said, I was trying to contact Tiger, he changed his number, myself and Michael Jordan.

Well, what does that tell you?

Tiger Woods had always prided himself as being friends with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley and vice versa. But what happens, when times get real thick, they couldn't find him, because maybe -- just maybe, you were just pretending to be their friend. They weren't really your friends after all...


SMITH: It was just convenient for you to do that. These are the kinds of things that the people in the United States of America look at and they say wait a minute, you are a fraud and a phony and that is how you are coming across, just like Mark Maguire... (CROSSTALK)

SMITH: -- came across that way, just like Pete Rose came across that way and various others.

KING: By the way, following the announcement Friday morning, we will do a complete show on this Friday night, devoting the entire hour to the Tiger Woods matter.

Thanks to our guests.

By the way, one program note. Priscilla Presley will be here tomorrow night. And so will Quentin Tarantino.

You know Judge Judy has something to say about Tiger's troubles and other things. She's here. She's next.

Don't go away.


KING: Judge Judy Sheindlin resides -- presides, rather, over TV's top rated, "Judge Judy." It's been the number one half hour court show for 700 straight weeks.

What's that, 12 years?

SHEINDLIN: Thirteen years, yes.

KING: Thirteen. My gosh. Congratulations.

SHEINDLIN: Thank you.

KING: That's a very enviable record.

SHEINDLIN: Thank you.

KING: All right, let's...


KING: Let's run down things.

What do you make of what Tiger Woods is going to do here Friday by a press conference that's not a press conference?

SHEINDLIN: Do you know -- do you want my honest answer?


KING: No, I want a (INAUDIBLE).


SHEINDLIN: I don't care.

KING: You don't care?

SHEINDLIN: Actually, I don't care. You know, I think we had...

KING: You have no interest in this?

SHEINDLIN: We've -- well, we've had front page Tiger Woods news for months, if my memory is correct, about three months ago. I was -- everybody was sort of more interested in his sex life than they were about their own. I got over it. Now he's in a recovery mode and I can wait until Friday to find out what happened. I can hang by my fingernails and wait until Friday.

KING: All right. How much does a public figure, embarrassed, owe the public, do you think?

SHEINDLIN: Well, you and I have had this discussion before. I think that when you have the gift of celebrity -- and we've talked about this before, I think -- that really is like being dusted with a feather -- you know, with a fantasy feather. You get all kinds of wonderful perks...

KING: You do.

SHEINDLIN: And you have money, you get a good reservation in a restaurant, you always get the right room in a hotel if you're lucky, you know, you get to travel a certain way. It's really lucky. And having lived both ways, I can tell you, this way is very nice.

If you have that gift, you're supposed to treat the people that have given you that gift, who are your fans, with a certain amount of respect. They really are the ones responsible for your celebrity, right?

KING: True.

SHEINDLIN: And especially somebody who is a hero and can be a hero to so many people, to have behaved in -- or behaved in such an inappropriate way, whether it's an athlete who takes drugs that they're not supposed to take, whether it's a media person who has illicit relationships -- very open and illicit relationships, whether it's a politician who really is living two lives and fooling the public, it's outrageous.

And I -- I -- it's a mixed bag to me whether to give them more air time or just let them fade away.

KING: When you used to handle family court -- and family court took in a lot of things -- children, divorce, lots of -- what do you make of people like Governor Sanford of South Carolina, who goes to Argentina?

Or -- or -- or -- or, my -- my God, Edwards?

What do you make of that?

SHEINDLIN: I think they're egomaniacs. And I think that nobody says no to them. And they have grown up in an environment where they're surrounded by people who tell them that they are the greatest things since sliced bread and so that they don't play by the same rules as everybody is obliged to play by. And that's unfortunate. It's particularly unfortunate in elected politicians.

KING: Because we pay them?

SHEINDLIN: Right. Because they are...

KING: They represent us.

SHEINDLIN: -- public servants. And for somebody to have the audacity to go away on the public's dime to have a romp in Argentina, I mean there aren't enough -- there are 300 and some odd million people in this country, this guy had to go to Argentina.


SHEINDLIN: I mean it's really ridiculous -- but not only bad judgment, it's not only amoral, but such bad judgment. I mean buy American is something that -- that even he should consider.

Anyway, I think it's all sort of outrageous conduct. And it's outrageous conduct and it's borne out of selfishness and the ability not to hear the word no.

KING: All right. Do you think that Judge Judy is held to a higher standard?

SHEINDLIN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

KING: And deservedly so, then?

SHEINDLIN: Yes. I think that when you -- everyone who is -- who has the gift of celebrity -- I'll give you an example. I shop. I don't know if you go to the grocery store or not.

KING: I've been in a few.

SHEINDLIN: A few in your lifetime.


SHEINDLIN: Any recently?


KING: Yes, I took my little son to Ralph's.

SHEINDLIN: Oh, there you go.

And you had a cart?

KING: I did. I had a cart.

SHEINDLIN: And when you finished buying your groceries, you took the cart outside.

And did you have your own car or was somebody driving you?

KING: I drove.

SHEINDLIN: You see I'm quite -- you drove. So you took the cart up to your car, you opened it up and then put the thing in it.

What did you do with the cart?

KING: I didn't bring it back to the store.


You see?

Now that's the wrong thing.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: So I had -- oh, just a second. So I had a case with a woman who did exactly what you did -- something that I have done many times. You know, I look for the closest place to put it in between the cars.


SHEINDLIN: As long as it wasn't going to hit mine. But this woman left...

KING: You smile at the PMG camera and you get in the car.

SHEINDLIN: Right. Right. You get in the car. And the cart, the wind comes along and blows the cart into somebody's car and dents it. I had a case like that. And I say -- and the woman said, it's not my fault, it was an act of God -- the wind blew...

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: The wind blew the cart into the car. I said yes, but -- but for your actions and being careless, it wouldn't have happened.

Well, fast forward about a week. I'm in Naples, Florida, I am shopping in Publix in Naples. I have a thing full of groceries. I go, I open my trunk, I put it in the trunk of my car and go to take the wagon and put it in between the two cars, where I -- and a couple of people were standing there and looking at me, where is she going to put her cart?


SHEINDLIN: So I said to myself, you know, you are held to a higher standard. You're supposed to do the right thing.

KING: So you took it back there?

SHEINDLIN: So I took it back and put it in the -- in the assigned spot for carts.

KING: The spot.

SHEINDLIN: So you are held to a standard.

KING: There is an interesting story in the life of the always interesting Judge Judy.

More after this.



SHEINDLIN: The 5th of September, 2008, who took the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The car remained in my possession.

SHEINDLIN: Who took the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody took the car. It stayed in my possession.

SHEINDLIN: That's what I mean. You took the car. Don't be a wise guy, sir, because I'll wipe up the floor with you.

Do we understand each other?

I ask you a question, you give me an answer.


SHEINDLIN: You want to play around, go play some place else. This is my playpen.

You got it?


SHEINDLIN: Take your hands off your hips. I only have attitude, not you.



KING: I don't think I would appear before you. I know...

SHEINDLIN: That would be a wise judgment.

KING: Yes, well. Judge Judy.

OK, earlier today, a Haitian judge freed eight of the 10 Americans detained on child kidnapping charges, kept the two there who had been there before earthquake. What do you make of that ruling?

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

KING: You don't know something?

SHEINDLIN: No, I don't know. I don't have the facts. I know that if he kept two, there must have been some -- some question that he had, especially since one of the people -- one of the representatives had a warrant outstanding for his arrest, did he not?

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: For trafficking in people -- in human trafficking.

KING: Yes.

SHEINDLIN: That's sort of odd. You know, the con -- the confluence of events is suspect, so -- but I don't have all the facts. I don't think anybody has all the facts.

KING: Another story getting a lot of buzz, which we now know the facts, filmmaker Kevin Smith is kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after being seated. He says he was deemed too fat to fly.

What do you make of discrimination against fat people on airlines?

SHEINDLIN: You travel commercially occasionally, Larry?

KING: Um-hmm.

SHEINDLIN: How do you feel when the person sitting right behind you has the flu and is sneezing and coughing all around you?

KING: You don't feel good.

SHEINDLIN: Do you think that they're being inconsiderate by flying, that because this one person decides that they have to get from Point A to Point B, 250 people are exposed to the flu.

It's inconsiderate right?

KING: Right. Yes.

SHEINDLIN: Well, if I buy a seat on a plane, I expect to be able to put my behind in that seat and not have somebody encroaching on...

KING: Overlap you.

SHEINDLIN: -- my space. I expect that. That's what I paid for my seat for. So the airline has made a rule that if, because you suffer from obesity...

KING: You have to buy two seats.

SHEINDLIN: You have to buy two seats. It is my understanding that this gentleman...

KING: He was standby.

SHEINDLIN: -- that this gentleman always booked two seats.

KING: Right. He always did.

SHEINDLIN: That's what he said. And his quote, if I read it correctly -- and, you know, my mind is not what it used to be -- was he always buys two seats because he can afford to buy two seats. But on this particular day, he didn't buy two seats because he evidently wanted to get from Point A to Point B and he didn't have time to make a reservation for two seats.

KING: He said he was standby.

SHEINDLIN: So he was flying standby. And if -- so he understood that he should have bought two seats, but he didn't. He only bought one.

So the choice is what happens if you have the little old lady -- me -- sitting next to him and having him encroach upon my space and the woman saying to the airlines, listen, I thought you had a policy that if you couldn't fit in one seat you had to buy two?

KING: You are defending corporate America.

SHEINDLIN: No, I'm not. I'm de -- what I'm defending, Larry, is -- it's not really defending. I don't think that we show enough respect for our fellow human beings. I think that it's wrong if you have a hot cold or a flu to get on a plane and say to hell with everybody else, I want to fly from one place to another. And, similarly, I think it's inconsiderate that if you weigh 350 pounds and you're going to encroach upon the two people sitting next to you, you're not obliged to say well, I'll buy enough seats so that I'm not inconveniencing or making somebody fly squinched (ph) up for...

KING: So if this were...

SHEINDLIN: -- for six hours.

KING: -- a case before you, you would rule in favor of the airline?

SHEINDLIN: Oh, if they had a rule.

KING: Right.

SHEINDLIN: And he -- it's not as if he didn't know the rule. He knew the rule.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: He bought two seats. On this particular occasion, he either didn't have time or they didn't have two seats. I mean, I don't know, I think it's probably much ado about nothing. Maybe he has a movie coming out.

KING: He does.

SHEINDLIN: Oh, is that something?


KING: We'll be right back with Judge Judy.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back.

Would you want Judge Judy to settle your court case?

That's tonight's Quick Vote question. Go to to answer it.

Seven hundred straight weeks number one among all one half hour court TV shows. She's Judge Judy. It's always great to have her with us. And we do have you two to three times a year.

All right, you're a savvy observer of people and politics. I didn't even have to ask you a question.

Sarah Palin?

SHEINDLIN: I think she's an intelligent woman. I -- I think that she has convictions. I think she's a religious woman. I read her book so I -- I know she's a religious woman. I know that she believes in what she believes in.

I have reservations as to whether she is presidential timber. I think that that requires somebody that's unique and I don't see that. But I think she's an intelligent woman. I -- and I think she's a nice person. That's -- and I've never met her. But that's what I...


SHEINDLIN: -- I mean I could see that I could have lunch with her and have an interesting lunch.

KING: Fox's "Family Guy," the animated series, used Down Syndrome, which Trig Palin, her son, has, as the butt of a joke. Sarah Palin slammed the show. She's also called on the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, for using the word "retarded".

Is she overreacting?

SHEINDLIN: You know, I think that sometimes -- yes. I think she's overreacting. I think that sometimes men and women say stupid things that they wish, as soon as the words come out of their mouth, they could take back. But I don't think that that necessarily is a demonstration of who they are. You know, we sometimes spit something out and say, oh, I'm sorry. I wish I could grab that back. And you can't.

And I think Rahm Emanuel probably would have liked to have taken back that word. But I think, again -- you know, Iran is a nuclear power. Millions of people in this country don't have jobs. More than half the mortgages are underwater.

Why are we fretting about it?

We have such big things to fret about, I don't see fretting about this P.C. baloney. I think we are much too involved with P.C. baloney for my taste.

Something's real, something's not real.

KING: But your show is involved with daily human events, not Iran...

SHEINDLIN: Yes. Yes. Yes.


SHEINDLIN: Well, we do it and we're finished with it. I mean we don't regurgitate the food day in and day out.


SHEINDLIN: I mean, when I do repeats, I get nasty mail from people and they say, listen, I saw that case before. And they're right. And sometimes I don't apologize, but, you know, we have to occasionally throw in a -- throw in a case twice.

KING: Have you ever finished a case where later on, maybe that night at dinner, you said, I was wrong?

SHEINDLIN: I don't like to think about being wrong.


KING: In 700 weeks, have you ever been wrong?

SHEINDLIN: I probably have been wrong. I probably have, not only 700 weeks, but in the 15 or so years that I sat as a judge in the family court. I'm sure there were cases which could have and perhaps should have been decided the other way.

But I really give it my best shot. I try to get the information. I'm not motivated by anything other than trying to do the right thing at the end of the case. So I'm able to sleep comfortably at night that I'm not vota -- motivated by anything political or because somebody's paying me money or because somebody's threatening to take my job away. I'm really only motivated by trying to do the right thing (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Have you enjoyed fame?

SHEINDLIN: Yes, I have. I say that without shame. It... KING: Well, you deserve it.

SHEINDLIN: It has -- I've been really blessed with two wonderful careers that I enjoyed. I had that family court career. And even though it was dirty and grungy and, you know, the -- the company wasn't there to serve the judges, the judges were there to serve the company, I loved every day of the work. I took a lot of aspirins, but loved every day of the work.

And this job that I have is a dream way to put a period at the end of your career. You know, I'm doing everything that I was trained to do, so the job isn't hard. I don't have to learn any lines. I don't have to do anything. The only thing I have to do is age gracefully.

KING: And show up.

SHEINDLIN: And show up.

KING: That shooting in Alabama, we're going to take with Judge Judy about it ahead.





SHEINDLIN: Don't play with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about my emotional distress?

SHEINDLIN: I don't want to hear about your emotional distress. I don't want to hear emotional distress. I have my own emotional distress. Somebody is going to have the last word here and I guarantee you it's going to be me.


KING: Judge Judy. Alabama Professor Amy Bishop accused of killing three colleagues in a shooting rampage. Many troubling disclosures about her past. Where do we get this from? First of all, it's amazing. Usually when you hear about somebody shooting up a bunch of people, it's a man. Right? What strikes you about this?

SHEINDLIN: Well, I don't think there's any question that she shot those three people. And as a judge, you're supposed to say allegedly. The issue will be raised why. I actually don't care. Neither do the people who survived the three people that she killed.

But what's amazing to me is to hear somebody with a pathology that has been there for 24 years. I mean wasn't it in 1986 that there's no question she shot and killed her brother. Whether it was an accident or not will probably never be determined. But from what facts are coming out now, it's clear that the story wasn't completely told in 1986.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: And then there was an incident that was reported -- not only reported, but for which she was given a sentence of anger management, which she probably didn't complete, where somebody took a booster -- the last booster seat in the house -- in an I-Hop restaurant and she needed it for her kid and she assaulted the woman. This is somebody who is not balanced.

KING: How did they get to be a college professor.

SHEINDLIN: You can be smart and not balanced. She's clearly intelligent. She has an intellect. I honestly don't think that if they did a criminal background check on her, they would have discovered any of those things. The incident in the I-Hop was probably sealed because it was a misdemeanor. She was never charged with a homicide in 1986.

But equally disturbing to me is the case in New York where someone who was a convicted sex offender was hired as a superintendent of a building and given keys to apartments. I believe that was the circumstance. And people -- employers who are placing their employees in a circumstance where they can place other people at risk are going to find that they're insurers of the safety of the people who rely on them, as so in colleges. This woman would not have been found out, but others might.

KING: Let's take a call from Montreal, Canada for Judge Judy. Hello?

CALLER: Thank you, Larry. Judge Judy, I would like to know what you think about having the terror trials in your city, and what would you do if you ever tried them?

KING: Good question.

SHEINDLIN: I certainly don't think the trials belong in New York City.

KING: You don't?

SHEINDLIN: No. And I have serious misgivings about trying them in a civilian court. I think that we are in a circumstance in this country where we are under siege, as are many countries around the world, are under siege by a small group of people that is intent on creating chaos. And I think that we have to be careful. People who are in that circumstance should not place our civilians at risk by affording them certain rights that we give American citizens that are tried here.

For instance, if you are interrogating somebody to find out whether they placed a bomb on a plane, and you Mirandize them first, and give them a lawyer, the chances are you're not going to find out whether that's going to happen. And it's my understanding that the people who are go to be tried were not mirandized before they were questioned. When you're tried, it's important that if you make a statement prior to being mirandized, that statement is suppressed. We know that. Is that what we want? I don't know.

I don't necessarily think that will make us a panacea around the world of justice, trying these people in civilian court. It may make us look absolutely ridiculous.

KING: The crime was committed in new York.

SHEINDLIN: The ultimate act. Well, the conspiracy was not. The ultimate act may have been in New York City.

KING: Don't you try where the act occurs?

SHEINDLIN: Not necessarily. The act of co-conspirators, where they hatched the plan -- none of them were on the planes in New York. Their act was conspiratorial.

KING: If you and I plan to kill someone, and we do the plan in California, but we do the plan in Detroit, we're going to be tried in Detroit?

SHEINDLIN: If the conspiracy was hatched in one jurisdiction, and someone else committed an act in another jurisdiction, I believe that both jurisdictions --

KING: Can claim? We'll be back with Judge Judy, who always forces us to think. Don't go away.


KING: Back with Judge Judy. Another call, Boston, hello. Boston, are you there? Boston?

CALLER: Oh, I'm sorry. I never hear. Hi, Larry. Hi, Judge Judy.


CALLER: I never hear too much of your opinion on the Haiti relief situation and how we're doing there.

KING: The whole Haiti situation.

SHEINDLIN: I think everybody knows it's going to take a long time. Haiti wasn't in good shape economically before the devastating earthquake, and it's probably going to take them a long time to get back. But I think lots of people are interested and lots of people are committed. We had a tragedy in New Orleans and it's taken a long time for New Orleans to get back.

KING: Still. Mesa, Arizona for Judge Judy, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry and Judge Judy. I have to tell Judge Judy, you are my American Idol. I love you and love your show. In your opinion, how do you feel President Obama is doing overall, considering all the crises facing our country? Thank you.

KING: I know you liked him very much and supported him.

SHEINDLIN: I liked him and I voted for him. I think that he made lots of promises to lots of constituencies. And for some reason, different from other politicians, everybody who believed in him believed that he was going to do and could do what he said he was going to do. Unfortunately, I think he over-extended himself, and he's got himself into a position where he's disappointed a lot of the people who did, in fact, support him. And that's unfortunate.

Most of us who were skeptics for a good deal of our lives after we got to know a good deal about politics, we heard all the rhetoric, I'm going to do this; I'm going to lower taxes; I'm going to raise your standard of living; everybody's going to have two chickens in the oven and have a cake for dessert every night; and we said, yes, just let us be peaceful and spend eight years with you.

But for some reason, we thought this was going to be different. And it turns out that we have the same problems that we had before. They're getting a little bit better, maybe. But there's a lot of disappointments. He's not going to be able to get through health care, I don't think, not the reform that he wants. I think that generally the American public is fed up with Congress. I think they're fed up with their own institutions and their own jurisdictions in their own states.

Public servants don't recognize that that's what they're supposed to be, public servants. They're there to serve the public. They think they're there to serve themselves. And I think that America, who had high hopes for change, isn't seeing the kind of change that they anticipated.

KING: Can it still happen, though?

SHEINDLIN: I don't know. I don't know. I just have a sense that it's going to take a long time for us to recoup from this recession. Until that happens, nobody's going to be a hero.

KING: Why is there so much acrimony?

SHEINDLIN: Maybe we just forgot where our roots are. We're supposed to agree to disagree, that you have a Republican party, and they are as well meaning and as well intentioned as the Democrats, even though the Democrats and the Republicans have a different sense of what government is supposed to be. And instead of respecting each other, it's so divisive and becomes personal.

And I believe that that's counter productive. I believe when it becomes personal -- and it does become personal -- and I -- bottom line is, I think that the people who serve us. in Congress and in the state government, do so not always out of the best of intentions for the public.

KING: Judge Judy is our guest. Back with more after this.



KING: Let's take another caller for Judge Judy. Clearfield, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Hi Judy. my boyfriend and I are big fans. He is a corrections officer. We watch you every day after work. Our question to you is we were wondering your opinion on the welfare system in the United States.

KING: That's a large order.

SHEINDLIN: It's a big order. You know, there was welfare reform decade more ago and I think that it was successful. As somebody who sat in the family court, and who saw the welfare abuses, and how generationally that negatively impacted on people -- and it negatively impacted on people also who saw other people not working, and they were working for minimum wage and they said, what do I have to work for? I could stay home and not work?

KING: They were the minority, weren't they? Most people on welfare need welfare?

SHEINDLIN: Let me tell you, Larry, I did a case today. You know, when they say one person -- you speak to one person that represents 100 people or 200 people. If somebody writes you a letter, that is a thousand letters. So, I had one case today and I had one every time I tape. There was a guy who was being sued by a woman for something, and he had lived with another woman for ten years. And as it turns out -- because I ask the questions -- as it turns out, he was living with this other woman for ten years. They had a three year-old child. He is not supposed to be living there because she and the child get welfare.

So I said to him -- I asked him all the questions, but before he could figure out where I was going, he was nailed. Now, that's one case. There are a lot of abuses. I feel sorry for people who look at their neighbor, people who are working for eight bucks an hour, and looking at their neighbor who doesn't get out of bed in the morning until 10:00, and then does nothing all day and say, what am I working -- busting my butt for nine, ten hours a day, to make this money? I could figure out a way to scam the system.

So I think -- and I find that problematic. And I find that nothing is being done to rectify that. You are not supposed to go near there, because it is not PC. I think to going back to extending welfare -- I would like to see the extension of unemployment, because if you have been working and because of the economy, you can't get a job --

KING: Yeah.

SHEINDLIN: They should expand that entitlement, because that's part of the recession. Can't do anything about that. But to go back to expand welfare, which is a suggestion now, I think is a tragic mistake.

KING: Columbus, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I was wondering Judy's opinion on the Supreme Court not allowing video footage of the Prop Eight trial in California?

KING: The Supreme Court turned down -- the California Supreme Court -- there is no video footage -- you can't show the trial about same-sex marriage, in which two lawyers, opposite politically, are trying to the case together for the gay side of the case.

SHEINDLIN: Yes, I know. Yes, I know. I believe in open courtrooms. I believe in -- citizens of this country pay for a very expensive judicial system and they are entitled to see how it's functioning. There is no reason, other than -- other than legal dysfunction, for courts to be closed to the public. I don't see it.

I mean, if you're dealing with perhaps an undercover officer whose identity may be placed at risk --

KING: That case you don't show.

SHEINDLIN: That case you don't show or you obliterate a face, whatever. But this is our justice system we pay for it.

KING: Why can't we see the Supreme Court?

SHEINDLIN: We should be able to see the Supreme Court? Why not? I don't understand why not. It should be on C-Span, like everything else.

KING: I know.

SHEINDLIN: It is our system. We pay for it. Why aren't we entitled to see it? Do we have to travel -- do 300 million people have to travel to Washington and get a ticket in order to see where their money is going? I think it is ridiculous.

SHEINDLIN: And we will be back with more of Judge Judy. We will try to get her to speak out a little after this.


SHEINDLIN: The Jaycee Duggard face, Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender, charged in her kidnapping. for years, he keeps her, sexual abuse, 18-year captivity. Now, he is trying to use the legal system by saying the birth certificates for his two daughters with her list him as their father. Does he have parental rights?

SHEINDLIN: I would give him parental rights. Ha ha. I would give him parental rights. With a scissors I would give him parental rights. Listen, I know somebody was going to come up with that argument, that he is the father and therefore, he has a right to see the children. Some lunatic was going to come up with that argument. This man did not allegedly kidnap her. She was 11. She didn't go voluntarily. She didn't voluntarily have a child with this creature when she was 13. Not voluntarily. And she didn't -- after a period of time, there is a loss of free will. So, there is no issue as to --

KING: He has no parental rights?

SHEINDLIN: Well, he has parental rights. I would like to see the idiot judge -- I would like to go face-to-face with the idiot judge who grants him visitation with those children.

KING: Would you allow his defense to present the case before you, Judge Judy?

SHEINDLIN: He is entitled to have a case presented.

KING: You would slam it in his face?

SHEINDLIN: He is entitled. And there is no question that he is mentally unbalanced.

KING: Correct.

SHEINDLIN: You have to put him away forever.

KING: All right. On that one, too.


KING: Chicago, hello he? Chicago, hello?

CALLER: I'd like to say that I think you're terrific. Thank God for Judge Judy. You say exactly what we are thinking. We were raised the old-fashioned way and I wonder, do you think there is any hope for today's society and their lack of common sense? Thanks so much.

KING: You think that's society-wide?

SHEINDLIN: Well, if we -- if we don't stop making excuses for people who behave badly and act inappropriately and have kids that they can't afford to take care of and can't take care of emotionally -- and the woman who took her three-year-old because he soiled his pull-up and put him in scalding water two weeks ago.

KING: But violent crime is down in America, by a large percentage.

SHEINDLIN: Well -- well, Larry, that is an interesting -- they do studies all the time. Just because the study says violent crime is down, could it mean that the reporting is down? Could it mean that somebody's not making the arrests? Could it mean that somebody says do a wink? Just because we want to keep the statistics down? I don't know. Do you feel safer?

KING: I don't feel unsafe. SHEINDLIN: Do you feel safer?

KING: I'm not paranoid.

SHEINDLIN: Do you feel safer than you did ten years ago? I don't feel any safer.

KING: I don't feel unsafe.

SHEINDLIN: I didn't dismiss the concierge who stands in my lobby and doesn't let people upstairs. I didn't say, you know what, I feel a lot safer, you don't have to be here. And I still live behind a gated community. And I don't say to the guard at the gated community, you know what, you don't have to be here at night; very few people come in and out at night, I feel perfectly safe. I still do everything I did 10 and 15 years ago.

KING: Me, too.

SHEINDLIN: I, as a person, don't feel more comfortable than I did that the crime rate is down.

KING: I don't walk down the street looking behind me either.

SHEINDLIN: Did you ten years ago?


SHEINDLIN: Do you have an alarm system on your house?

KING: Yeah.

SHEINDLIN: Did you turn it off last week?

KING: OK, thanks, Judge Judy. OK. See you again in a couple months.

SHEINDLIN: See you in a couple months.

KING: Seven hundred straight weeks and going strong, Judge Judy. Priscilla Presley is here tomorrow with Viva Elvis and Quentin Tarantino.

Right now, Wolf Blitzer and "AC 360."