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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Judge Judy
Aired May 13, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE JUDITH SHEINDLIN, "JUDGE JUDY": I don't hear a word that you're saying because when I speak I don't hear people that are trying to talk over me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm saying that I'm not trying to.
SHEINDLIN: Because I am the boss here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Judge Judy is back. She'll give us the straight answers and tough talk as only she can on Patrick Kennedy's Capitol Hill car crash, the Duke lacrosse rape investigation and a whole lot more. Judge Judy for the hour with your phone calls is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
She presides over the top rated Emmy-nominated syndicated court show that carries her name. She's a "New York Times" best selling author, former judge in New York's Family Court.
Her show recently marked 500 straight weeks as the number one rated court program. And this September when the next series starts that will be its eleventh year. How do you account for that as you look at it self aware?
SHEINDLIN: Well, I think objectively you have to say country, the people who watch television during the day and some places in the evening where the program is on in the evening like direct speak. They're tired of fuzzy. They're tired of irresponsibility. They look for a moral compass. They look for somebody to say "You're right" and "You're wrong" and this behavior is acceptable and this behavior is unacceptable and I do that.
KING: How about those who say it's good television, it's fun but it's not the decorum for a courtroom?
SHEINDLIN: Well there are detractors and there are people who say that we should not be a model for judicial decorum. However, I didn't come to this medium as an actress.
This is the way I ran my courtroom. People knew where I stood. They knew when they left my courtroom whether they won or they lost. They knew why they won and why more importantly they lost and they did so if it required monosyllabic explanations. I gave them monosyllabic explanations that they understood.
And, if there are judges that feel as if they are anointed to rule over the lives of people in some esoteric, cloaked fashion that people really don't understand and sometimes with a result that is very unsatisfactory, you're going to continue to have a court system that is suspect where people don't respect it often.
Sometimes you have winning situations but very often when middle class people have to go to court they're very frustrated. They feel as if it just doesn't work for them.
KING: Over the years anything changed in the type of cases you hear on the TV side?
SHEINDLIN: Gee, I wish I could say, Larry, that people have changed over the last ten years but the people that appear before me in the television courtroom are still making the same foolish mistakes that they made, still lending money to the wrong guy, still looking for love in all the wrong places and getting their bank accounts fleeced at the same time.
And when I read the papers and still speak to former colleagues of mine in the Family Court and read tragedy after tragedy that's still happening in families in this country, to children in this country, I have to say that we're really not doing much better.
KING: Judge Ed Koch appointed you, right, I mean Mayor Ed Koch, yes?
SHEINDLIN: He did. He did.
KING: Now let's take some stuff in the news. We'll be taking your calls at the bottom of the hour. What's your overall view of this whole Duke lacrosse story?
SHEINDLIN: Oh, I really don't know.
KING: Nor does anybody.
SHEINDLIN: Does anybody, nor does anybody. We do know certain things. We know that something happened there that was untoward and we know that the boys that hired this exotic dancer or two exotic dancers and proceeded to have a drunken free-for-all, whatever happened, they were doing the wrong thing. They were doing the wrong thing.
KING: Not necessarily illegal.
SHEINDLIN: Not necessarily illegal, even though there was probably a lot of underage drinking, so somebody had to do something illegal. You know there's very illegal, there's moderately illegal and then illegal.
But, something clearly happened there that was not right. Whether it amounted to a crime I don't know. I mean I read a report today in the paper that criticized the way the university handled it. KING: Yes.
SHEINDLIN: Well, who knows? You know you can always be a Monday morning quarterback. I think that -- my sense is if nothing happened or if what this victim, alleged victim alleges didn't happen and people rally around her they shouldn't rally around her for the wrong reasons.
KING: Do you agree with the fact that rape victims or alleged rape victims' names are not printed?
SHEINDLIN: Yes. I think that you have to be respectful of that. There is a difference between being a rape victim or a victim of sodomy or a victim of any violent sex act and being the victim of an arson or a robbery or a burglary.
One actually invades your person and I think that if it permits, if by not identifying women by name permits them to come forward with greater ease, come forward and pursue their case with greater ease, then that's what you have to do.
KING: What are your thoughts on Patrick Kennedy?
SHEINDLIN: Oh! Well, I don't like to see two tiers of justice and I don't like to see two tiers of responsibility by the police. I like to see people responding to situations with a blank slate.
And what I think is from what I've read if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's usually a duck. And, if you're out three o'clock in the morning and your car is bobbing and weaving and hits a stationary object and you get out of the car and you're bobbing and weaving, then it is wrong for somebody in authority to say "Take him home" when your average Joe would have had a breathalyzer test, been taken into custody, and been ticketed and been arrested.
And, certainly that should have happened and the fact that that didn't happen gives people who read the papers and who listen to the news a sense that justice is not fair, that the justice system is not fair, that the police are unfair and I think that that's the tragedy of Patrick Kennedy's situation.
I mean he was too, probably, he was probably too drunk to ask for special favors. I don't think he probably did. If he did, he says he doesn't remember. That's convenient memory loss.
KING: Is there any part of you that feels sorry for him?
SHEINDLIN: I think that you voluntarily do certain things. I think that you voluntarily take a drink and get behind the wheel of a car. Would you feel sorry for Patrick Kennedy if instead of hitting a bunch of barriers around the capital he had hit a family coming home from a family dinner and killed three people?
Would we be talking here today about feeling sorry for Patrick Kennedy and the fact that he seems to have a substance abuse problem whether it's prescription drugs or alcohol? Not me. It's only by the grace of God that he hit something that didn't breathe. KING: Hasn't historically, you go back to time immemorial, privileged people get a break?
SHEINDLIN: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Did Martha Stewart get a break? Did Leona Helmsley get a break? I'm asking you, come on.
KING: I don't know whether they did.
SHEINDLIN: Did they get a break? Did they get a break? Lied, yes, went to jail, you know, paid a lot of taxes but wrote off some, went to jail, were they given any special treatment? I wouldn't think so.
And there are many others that I can think of who by virtue of their celebrity and by virtue of their negative celebrity in the case of these two women who had the reputation of being, you know, tough, hard-nosed gals, I think got blasted worse than somebody else. However, I think that if you can retain lawyers you have a better shot of negotiating a better disposition on your case than you can.
With regard to Patrick Kennedy, I think that the Kennedy name got him out of trouble, I mean and, you know, that's a name that has been shrouded in trouble for a long time. I mean they don't have to have his picture on a card.
Somebody called whoever it was, chief of police, I don't know who it was, some higher up it was reported who said "Take him home," somebody called him and said "Get him out of there."
KING: On the other hand, if it happened to Joe Smith it wouldn't have been a headline.
SHEINDLIN: It wouldn't have been a headline but he would have been in jail.
KING: Overnight until the lawyer got him out the next day.
SHEINDLIN: And not had that kind of sympathetic -- there's not even a sympathetic mea culpa you know. If you're honest about it and if the guy was honest about it and said, "Look, I was drinking. I shouldn't have been. I have a problem. I'm going in." But this prescription drug stuff, you know (INAUDIBLE).
KING: We'll take a break and when we come back we'll talk with Judge Judy about the subject we discussed last night on this show and that's now on the top ten FBI Most Wanted List, Warren Jeffs out there in the land of where his group and polygamy.
There you see the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive. He's on it now. We'll ask what Judge Judy thinks and what she would do if he were convicted, if she were the judge. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He mistreats her. He whistles at her like a dog. He doesn't call her "Alysia (ph) come over here." He whistles.
SHEINDLIN: It would be the last sound he would make if he was my husband.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SHEINDLIN: It would be the last time you would hear him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We all had (INAUDIBLE).
SHEINDLIN: You believe that don't you? You believe that if you were married to me, sir, and if you were across the room and you wanted a glass of water and you whistled it would be the last sound that would come out of your mouth?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: Does your father live off a trust fund Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father doesn't work. He isn't working right now.
SHEINDLIN: How come you can find work? You look harder.
DENISE GONSALVES, STEPMOTHER: From a miracle I mean.
SHEINDLIN: Yes, there are miracles. Michael is waiting for a miracle.
GONSALVES: He thinks I was his miracle.
SHEINDLIN: I'm going to tell you something. After today he's going to know one thing for sure I'm not his miracle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Judge Judy. All right, what do you make of the Warren Jeffs matter?
SHEINDLIN: The guy's a sleaze. You know he has to be captured and arrested and tried and if I had my own world we would know what to do with him. If I ran my own country, I would know what to do with him.
KING: What would you do with him? He didn't kill anybody.
SHEINDLIN: I think that you have to make an example of people who trade in human flesh which is really what he's doing. He's trading in human flesh and he's trading in the worst kind of human flesh, mostly with children because if you're a 12, 13, 14, 15-year- old girl you're still a child.
And, when you do that -- many years ago when I was in elementary school in the state of Massachusetts they still had flogging, believe it or not, as a potential punishment for low level crimes.
And I remember, I must have been eight or nine years old and I remember writing to a state official in the state of Massachusetts and saying how horrified I was that, you know, even as little a girl as I was that you could still do that in this country. You know hit somebody is a form of punishment isn't that cruel.
And I got a letter back and I remember it. It stays with me vividly. And he said, and the letter said something like "You know you can put someone in jail for ten days or 30 days but if you give them publicly a couple of swats with a belt that has more of an impact."
And, I used to say jokingly when I was in Family Court that if I had my druthers I don't believe in excessive corporal punishment because that's what the Constitution says, it doesn't say corporal punishment, you can't have excessive corporal punishment, I would put up stocks. Remember the old stocks that they had in New England.
KING: You'd put this guy in a stock?
SHEINDLIN: And I'd put him in a stock and I'd let people throw tomatoes at him and garbage at him and let him be humiliated because what he did to those children, those countless thousands of children whose lives he touched, was really ruin them. They'll never be the same. I mean even if they get out of it they'll never be the same right?
SHEINDLIN: What you have to do is you have to make an example.
KING: What do you make of people who do things like he does? Where do you think that comes from? Do you think it's a sincere religious belief?
SHEINDLIN: No. No, I think they're...
KING: What is it?
SHEINDLIN: I think they're sociopaths. I do believe that there are some people that are just evil. I believe that there are people that are evil.
KING: Bad seed.
SHEINDLIN: I believe that there is whether it's a gene that causes a lack of serotonin or too much serotonin or whatever the chemical imbalance is that generates that kind of behavior that there are people who are bad because I don't think that a normal person, for instance, could kill a loved one, cut their body up, boil it and eat them, do you? KING: No.
SHEINDLIN: That's not normal.
SHEINDLIN: Now, I don't care how much therapy they have they're never going to be normal. They're never going to be in my country able to walk around amongst people who are normal.
In this country, however, we have this you know hope springs eternal attitude that we can take pedophiles, we can take murderers, we can take people who have committed the most atrocious sexual acts and we can give them therapy and treatment and redeem them. Some you may be able to touch. Some maybe it was an aberration. But for the most part, evil is evil.
KING: Our guest is Judge Judy; calls at the bottom of the hour, more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: If you would have lived in my county, I would have charged you with trespass, Mr. Sorrows (ph). What's the name of the police chief in Douglassville (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe (ph).
SHEINDLIN: Do you know the name of the police chief in that county?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
SHEINDLIN: But you did. They don't keep me in this job, Mr. Sorrows, because I'm young and live and beautiful. They keep me in this job because I'm smart. You would have paid for more than the carpet. And, for coming here...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't appreciate (INAUDIBLE).
SHEINDLIN: ...and fabricating that story and insulting my intelligence...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't appreciate you saying that (INAUDIBLE).
SHEINDLIN: I'm speaking! When I'm speaking you don't!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: If I went into a club, I mean if I were having a dream and I went into a club and you invited me up on stage, I certainly would not have assumed that I was going to be on the receiving end of your bodily fluids sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Judge Judy. Immigration, of course, in the news, illegal immigration in the news, the latest CNN poll shows 57 percent of Americans have sympathy for illegal immigrants. That's down from 70 percent who had sympathy in April.
However, 81 percent favor legislation that would allow illegal immigrants who have been in the United States more than five years to stay in this country and apply for citizenship if they have a job to pay back taxes. What do you make of this whole mess? I mean you got all these millions of people. You can't send them back. What do you do?
SHEINDLIN: Right. Well, you have to know the difference between what you can change and what you can't change and then try to find a responsible solution considering what you can change and what you can't change.
We are not -- let's say there are ten to 12 million illegal aliens in this country, Larry. There is no way that this country is going to put them on a boat, a series of barges, eleven or 12 million people and separate families. They've had children. The children are citizens of this country. It's just not going to happen.
So, for me, if you have been here pick a number. I mean is it an arbitrary number five years? That's an arbitrary number five years but if you have to pick a number pick that number and say "You have to be responsible people if you live here. You have to work.
We didn't invite you in here to be on the doll. We invited -- if you came here illegally you came here in the hopes of finding a better life and we hope that you've done that. You've been here for a while, so hopefully you've found a better life through work.
And, if you're going to work and if you're going to ride the rails and if you're going to ride on the highways that cost money to keep and if you're going to use that public health system if you don't have insurance, you have to pay your taxes. You have to be responsible people." So, I would like a system that gave these folks an opportunity since they're here already and we can't change that to make it right.
KING: Zacarias Moussaoui now says he had nothing to do with 9/11 and he wants a new trial.
SHEINDLIN: Well, I gather he in a very articulate letter he said "I didn't know the American justice system would be as fair as they were to me and I found out how fair they were when they didn't sentence me to death, so now I figure why not go whole hog and try it. Maybe I can fool 12 people all together." Well, the federal system says that once you've been sentenced you can't take back the plea, unless of course, you know...
KING: New evidence. SHEINDLIN: There's new evidence. (INAUDIBLE) and it was extracted from you by coercion. The fact that you had a change of heart is not a reason to allow someone after this kind of trial to withdraw their guilty plea. I mean the guy is clearly not wrapped too tight. If he were wrapped too tight, he wouldn't have proceeded the way he did. But that's not anybody's problem. He has to be put away.
KING: You're going to do a magazine?
SHEINDLIN: Oh, I'm so glad you asked me that question. I don't know if I'm going to do a magazine, Larry, but you know we come -- Jerry and I fly out here every other week and when we fly out they put a whole stack of magazines on the plane and pick up "People" magazine and pick up, you know, the other magazines.
And, unfortunately, I don't know 75 percent of the people in those magazines. I don't know them by name, you know. They're dressed beautifully and they have wonderful bodies and great hair and terrific skin and all that is very lovely.
But, at my stage I don't relate to them. There are wonderful movie stars and television people and authors and celebrities who are over 40 that I would still like to know about. I would like to know about what Helen Mirren's life is and I would like to know how Goldie Hawn is doing and what is her life now that she's a grandmother.
KING: So you're going to do what publish it?
SHEINDLIN: So, I don't know. I'm throwing that out here. I think that we should have, we people who are over 40, people who are over 50, should have a magazine for want of a better term a gossipy kind of magazine but a little higher end gossipy magazine that tells stories about people who we know.
KING: How did you come up with this? It's foreign to what you do.
SHEINDLIN: It's foreign to what I do. Well, primarily because I look at these magazines and I say, "Where are all the people that I know?" I am still relevant. I know that you consider yourself a relevant person.
KING: I'm relevant.
SHEINDLIN: Relevant. We are relevant. We really run the world. It's not the babies that run the world. We run it. We run the world of people who were -- the baby boomers run the world. They have the...
KING: But we're not the demographic.
SHEINDLIN: Well, but Madison Avenue is run by -- has 6-year-olds who are CEOs. They don't get it. They don't get the fact that people who are 55 and over now don't get settled in a -- don't buy a Chevy when they're 16 and buy a Chevy when they're 60. When they're 16 they buy a Chevy. When they're 60 they buy a Porsche. I mean you know. You drive around Beverly Hills. I live in Naples, Florida and Greenwich, Connecticut. Most of the guys who are driving the little black Porsches have great hair or no hair. It's not 24-year-olds. So we got the dough.
KING: And there's more money there.
SHEINDLIN: We got the dough. We don't exercise the power and that's our fault. That's our fault. We have to exercise the power because if you watch television, I mean Jerry and I watch very little television. I told you before we are "Law and Order" junkies who watch a lot of "Law and Order," but most television programming today is geared towards the younger demographic.
And that's because people who really have the dough, people who can afford to buy the 55-inch plasma televisions who don't even put them in their living room. They put them in their screening rooms, right? They've got it. They don't know how to exercise this kind of power and I would like a magazine that will help them exercise that kind of power.
KING: You got a potential title?
SHEINDLIN: I don't know. My publicist, Gary Rosen (ph), who I broke the news to about this thing that was on the tip of my nose today said to me "How about calling it Now." I don't know. We'll come up with a name.
KING: Now ain't bad.
SHEINDLIN: Now ain't bad. We'll come up with a name for it. All I need is somebody to back me.
KING: Come on. You need backing, oh yes for magazines you need backing.
SHEINDLIN: You need backing.
KING: That ain't little money.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with calls for Judge Judy.
Tomorrow night, Mary Cheney will be our special guest. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: I look at all of these things, sir, through the eyes of somebody that first signs their signature like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my autograph, Your Honor.
SHEINDLIN: And then signs something like this. I told you I don't think you're adorable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was rushing when that happened.
SHEINDLIN: I don't think you're adorable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I apologize.
SHEINDLIN: Your mother thinks you're adorable. Maybe your father thinks you're adorable. Maybe your girlfriend thinks you're adorable. Your roommate thinks you're adorable, not I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: If she told me she was going to go in her house and get a gun and blow my head off, I would say, go ahead.
Even if you chose instead of working ten hours a day to work five hours a day, that's still $899 that you could have made instead of sitting around and watching "American Idol" on TV. Quite frankly, I don't even want to look at you any more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of my hard work, I got the job.
SHEINDLIN: Excuse me. As my grandmother would say, with attitude, whatever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Judge Judy is the guest. What a roaring success she's been in television, as we approach her 11th year. Rochelle, Illinois. Hello.
CALLER: Hello there, thank you for taking my call. I would like Judge Judy to tell us about Burt. Was he with her prior to when she was in family court and been with her all this time on television. We enjoy it and thanks so much.
SHEINDLIN: Thank you. Petri Hawkinsburg (ph) was my court officer in the family court in Manhattan for about four years and then he and his family moved to the Bay Area out here in California. When he heard there was a possibility this show would come to fruition, he wrote me a note and said he would love an opportunity to do the job.
As a matter of fact, I think he offered me his firstborn if he could have the job. I told him I had already met his firstborn, he could have the job but keep his firstborn. I have my own trouble. He's been with me ever since and he's had a wonderful go at it, wonderful with young people, very active is his church. KING: How did he get that name?
SHEINDLIN: I don't know. You have to ask his grandmother.
KING: You never asked him. Petri Hawkinsburg. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Hello.
CALLER: Hello. I have a question for Judge Judy. When a parent aged 65 trustingly lends their adult child a lot of money to open a business with the promise for a monthly repayment and the adult child later turns against this parent and refuses, is this considered elder financial abuse and what, if anything, could be done?
KING: Elder financial abuse?
SHEINDLIN: If it is considered elder financial abuse, it's been going on for generations and generations. Somehow when you lend children money, the word loan somehow blurs with time. If you want to, you can sue your children, that's something I would do most cautiously.
I don't think it's abuse. I think when ever you lend somebody money, whether it's a child or relative or a friend, you always risk not being repaid and you always risk being the bad guy, to boot. To answer your question, it's not any more abusive than anybody else who doesn't return money that's borrowed.
KING: Some people say if you loan money to family, don't call it a loan. If you get it back, you're lucky. Fort Lauderdale.
CALLER: I'd like to know the judge's thoughts on gay marriage and gay adoption.
SHEINDLIN: I think I answered that question, I believe once before on this program. If you weren't listening, I'm going to say it again. I think any two people that are in a committed relationship, and are making a home and making a responsible family together, and who are working and being good Americans, if they want to get married and if they need the word marriage to support that union, I am in favor of that.
I also believe that there are many heterosexual families where parents are not good parents, they are neglectful parents and I think there are good parents who are heterosexuals and that there are wonderful parents who are homosexuals. I don't think necessarily the sexual gender of the parents determines whether or not they're good or bad parents.
I do, however, in all honesty think that children who have homosexual parents are going to have a little more difficult time if they live in a community that isn't accepting. There are some communities that are very accepting of gay parents, of two gay parents, having a child. But some are not. You have to realize that and recognize that and be particularly vigilant about taking care of it. If you're a really good parent, you can do that. Have I answered your question?
KING: Unmarried parent, celebrity or not, is OK?
SHEINDLIN: Well, we have in this country said, I mean, after Murphy Brown remember Murphy Brown? KING: Sure.
SHEINDLIN: I don't believe that a woman who wants to have a child, and I think that comes to women, I think, in a greater force than it does to men, that need to -- that mothering, that maternal need that many women have, and if a woman reaches a certain age where that biological clock is moving forward and she hasn't found the right partner, right mate, I don't think it's wrong for her to say, if I can financially and emotionally deal with being a single parent, I want to have a child.
KING: What's wrong with it?
SHEINDLIN: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. My problem is with the 16, 17, 18 and 19 and 20-year-old, who have a child like they would go to a corner store and buy a puppy because it's -- somebody says, if you love me, have my baby. That, I have a problem with. I have absolutely no problem with a reasoned judgment by an adult, financially and emotionally responsible adult to have a child.
KING: We're going to take a break and go to more calls. First, what do you think of this warrantless surveillance?
SHEINDLIN: You mean the presidential warrantless surveillance. Tough times sometimes require tough measures. And, you know, while I don't approve of an entire country being the subject of eavesdropping, I think that if, by virtue of the fact that we didn't -- that the justice system didn't have to go around and get all kinds of permissions for warrants, to listen to what was going on, if we saved ten lives in this country, if we thwarted two plots in this country, it was worth it.
It was certainly worth it to the families that we saved, and I think that in other times, I would have been out there with pickets just like everybody else. I think these are very different times we're living in.
The first time war really came to our borders was in, you know, the last 20 years, and World Trade Center twice. And I think that, as a reaction to that, things had to be done and things had to be done quickly and sometimes covertly.
Do I approve of it with a whole heart, no. Do I understand it? I do.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of Judge Judy and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then she went for me a second time. I pushed her back and told her she was crazy, to remove her hands from me and there was no reason for this, if there was a problem, we have to address is as roommates and friends work it out as responsible people. That there is not reason why she should have locked the door and left me outside of my own house. Yes, I did wreck her car and I told her I would cover those charges, but when she assaulted me, your honor, that was incorrect and that was not right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May I make another statement?
SHEINDLIN: I don't see how she lasted ten months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEINDLIN: You better start acting responsibly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I take care of my children and I have since day one.
SHEINDLIN: No, you didn't take care of your five-month-old, he almost died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love my children and there could be nothing better than my children.
SHEINDLIN: Listen to me, don't speak over me. Fifty dollars a week is nothing to take care of three children. But I would think twice about having three children with a man who just came out of a five-year prison term for selling drugs. I would think twice before I hopped in the sack with him and made three babies. That's something that you did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Try to get to the point, that's your trouble. You're laid back. Marshall, Arkansas, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Judge Judy. It's a pleasure watching your show. I enjoy it very much. My question is, when the people that come on your show, do they get paid to come on there? And when your rulings are final, what if the person that you give the judgment to doesn't pay?
KING: How does it work?
SHEINDLIN: You watch the show?
KING: Yes, she does.
SHEINDLIN: When they sign a binding arbitration agreement. In the binding arbitration agreement, it says whatever my ruling is, they have to abide by.
So if there is a ruling that requires a transfer of money, we know -- and historically court programs know that we can't always rely on people to transfer money from one to another. So the show picks up that part of the judgment. If I rule that a car has to be transferred from one person to another, we cut a order and the car is in fact transferred, or the real estate is in fact transferred. If there's other personal property we secure a marshal and the marshal will actually go to the house and transfer the property that we've ruled on.
And if the case is dismissed and if you lose, the judgment is final and cannot be appealed.
KING: As simple as that. Cherry Hills, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: Hello, good evening, judge. I would like to know if you had been the judge in the O.J. Simpson trial, would you have handled the trial differently?
SHEINDLIN: It's very difficult to be a Monday morning quarterback. However, having watched that trial.
KING: That's the criminal trial, not the civil.
SHEINDLIN: The criminal trial, I would have handled it differently. I would have limited repetition. I would have -- and there was a lot of repetition. I don't know whether that necessarily would have determined the outcome of the case, but I certainly think that the trial would have proceeded much more smoothly and without as much fanfare.
I think unfortunately, because of the O.J. trial and because of the negative way that a lot of people perceived that program, that the television impacted on the justice system because it was, you know -- you had a picture of the judge with beautiful flowers on his bench every morning, to make it look more appealing.
That's outrageous. You don't dress a set. Because of that trial, many jurisdictions said we're not going to have cameras in our courtroom, it demeans the justice system, whereas I firmly believe that in every courtroom of this country...
KING: Including Supreme Court?
SHEINDLIN: ... Including the Supreme Court of the United States, there should be a fixed camera. Not camera people all around but a fixed camera that is recording the proceedings as they're happening.
And I say this fervently and adamantly. Appellate courts read a blank record. They cannot see nuances, they cannot see whether people look as if they're telling the truth. They cannot assess body English. The only way you can do that is hear the words and watch the person. You see the way you're watching me? You know I'm telling you the truth and when I speak to you, I speak from here, right?
KING: Of course.
SHEINDLIN: And I know that you know that. But if all you did was read what I said in black-and-white, you couldn't tell that. And appellate courts are asked all the time to read the black-and-white printed word without having the opportunity to see what's going on.
KING: And so they should watch.
SHEINDLIN: They should be able to watch it, period.
KING: Judge Ito was a children's court judge and he had moved out of the civil division to the criminal. Would it have been hard to be a civil judge handling that trial?
SHEINDLIN: I don't know whether -- he was not a new judge.
KING: No. Most of his career was...
SHEINDLIN: ... Was in civil. Most of his career was in civil. Maybe they should have had somebody more seasoned. But I think that someone in the courtroom is going to have control of the courtroom. That was my experience in 25 years.
Sometimes it's a defense lawyer that I was fighting with for that control, sometimes a prosecutor, sometimes court officers wanted to control the courtroom. There's only one person that can control a courtroom. There's only one ringmaster and that has to be the judge. And when it's not the judge, you're in trouble.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Judge Judy. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not trying to put him out of house and home, you know? I just want him to pay for what he did.
SHEINDLIN: The judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $910. Enough with the water, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I figured if I drink it, I won't talk.
SHEINDLIN: Stay in school, stay in school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think I should go back?
SHEINDLIN: This is not a give-and-take, Mr. Misery. Wise guys usually at the end of the day don't end up being happy people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a wise guy.
SHEINDLIN: Yes, you are. It's not a give-and-take. Maybe you have diabetes or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry and Judge Judy. As a young adult, I appreciate your honesty. I want to ask a question. In a court system or whichever you call it, who's the hardest to get the truth from, children or teenagers.
SHEINDLIN: Who's the what.
KING: The hardest to get the truth from, children or teenagers, a general question.
SHEINDLIN: I hate to generalize. I think that children usually -- the younger the child the more receptive they are to judicial coaxing.
KING: A seven-year-old would be more liable to tell the truth than a 15-year-old.
SHEINDLIN: They understand the consequences of their actions a little bit better, they understand the nuance of manipulation a little bit better. I would probably say young children.
KING: Appalachia, Virginia.
CALLER: Hello, Larry and Your Honor. My question for Judge Judy is my ex-husband is $20,000 in arrears in child support. And I'm at my wits end, and the judge has done everything she possibly can in DCSE. Is there anything else legally I can possibly do?
SHEINDLIN: When you say the judge has done everything that -- is it a female judge, you said she possibly could?
SHEINDLIN: Did she put him in jail? CALLER: Yes.
SHEINDLIN: And he still won't pay. How old are you children?
CALLER: Fifteen, 12 and 10.
SHEINDLIN: Do you work?
CALLER: I'm on disability.
SHEINDLIN: Other than garnishing his wages, if he has them, if he has wages, taking his tax returns, taking away his driver's license, making his life miserable, what else are you going to do to him?
You have to recognize something else. The more you do to him, the probably greater ogre you will be to your children because eventually they will become sympathetic to their father if he is sitting and rotting in jail. It is a delicate balance. Irresponsible fathers really -- the irresponsible ones are the plague of this nation.
KING: Bane of society.
KING: We'll be back with more Judge Judy and more phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly welcome to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Judge Judy Sheindlin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Having had that same thrill myself it's quite a thing, isn't it?
SHEINDLIN: It sure is.
KING: What you dream about as a kid.
SHEINDLIN: I had the pleasure of being with you just around that time.
KING: That night, I think.
SHEINDLIN: It never gets better.
KING: Do you visit your star?
SHEINDLIN: Go over and take a look at it every once in a while.
KING: Minnesota, Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry and Honorable Judge Judy. Do you ever go through the TV -- court cases and choose which ones you want to handle or which ones you want to send to Judge Joe?
SHEINDLIN: I wish I could.
KING: That's funny.
SHEINDLIN: Most of the case is that send to me, as many years as we have had this program going, they know what kind of cases I will do and what kind of case is think are inappropriate for television.
KING: You don't pick them?
SHEINDLIN: I don't pick them, staff does.
KING: Solona (ph), British Columbia.
CALLER: How are you tonight, Larry? My question is for Judge Judy. Do you think your style of adjudication would speed up the style of the judicial process in the U.S., making it more efficient?
SHEINDLIN: I do. Count say it any more clearly. There needs to be a reasonable mix. Sometimes my brand of justice is very shorthand. More serious cases require a little more time. The more serious the case, the more complex and the more time it takes.
Not every case is the Scopes trial. A simple case deserves a simple amount of time and a simple effort and very very plain result, which you're right, you're wrong, you're guilty, not guilty, bring me the next case. I think there has to be a good mix but I think I'm a right start.
KING: You've done so well, financially, you don't need it anymore. Do you ever think about just retiring?
SHEINDLIN: I have four more years on this show. And after that, we'll see.
KING: Do you ever get tired of it?
SHEINDLIN: No, not yet.
SHEINDLIN: I don't. You know, the way our taping schedule is arranged, I come out every other week to tape the show. In between, I get a chance to do all the lovely things, see family and friends and children and grandchildren and Jerry and I get a chance to really relax and enjoy each other and do things that we thoroughly enjoy each other and this fantasy is wonderful and I come back and work a couple of days. This is a very fine life.
KING: How much do you know about the case before it starts?
SHEINDLIN: Very little. The way I set it up in the beginning which is different from the way People's Court ran, which was the granddaddy of all court shows, they set it up so the judge had notes. That's not the way the court system works. Court system works on you have a complaint by the plaintiff and answer by the defendant. I had them prepare complaints and answers, written by the litigants so I had some idea, short, a couple of paragraphs what the case was about, so I at least know this case is about rented stolen property and this is about automobile vandalism.
KING: Is there a lot of editing?
SHEINDLIN: Less editing as we go along. I think I was a little more long-winded when we started in years one, two and three, and somebody picked up the phone and explained to me, you know, editing is money. It would be very nice if you had an hour or two to delve into all these people's problems but this is not what this is about. I got shorter and more concise.
KING: Always great seeing you.
SHEINDLIN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Judge Judy, we love her. This September will begin her 11th year of the number one 500 straight weeks as the number one rated court program on television. Tomorrow night, Mary Cheney is finally speaking out, has a new book out, the vice president's daughter. She is with us for the full hour tomorrow night.
Right now let's turn our attention to New York City and the always interesting Anderson Cooper with the "AC 360" report. What's up?
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